SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico state lawmakers are pushing, again, to legalize marijuana. The sponsor of this year’s bill says more Republicans are on board than in past years.

This bill has been years in the making, having been in discussion for almost five years. Supporters believe this year all of the details have been worked out and the timing is just right.

“This is a very bold, very robust attempt at diversifying the economy,” said State Representative, Javier Martinez. Martinez is again behind the bill, each year similar proposals have hit a roadblock with Republicans and moderate Democrats.

It’s been because of things like stigma or who would oversee the project. The bill would legalize recreational marijuana for adults, creating regulations like those for alcohol and tobacco.

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a hit on oil and gas, lawmakers say New Mexico needs another form of revenue. “You know you are looking at tourism dollars coming in from out of state, you are looking at investments coming in that can help spur economic growth and not just in urban areas but perhaps, more importantly, rural communities,” said Martinez. Martinez believes New Mexico would be the perfect environment for growing marijuana, with the sunshine and history of agriculture in the state.

Republican Senator Mark Moores has said he was willing to work with Democrats on new marijuana legislation this year. Last year, Arizona and four other states legalized recreational pot. Martinez says it’s important New Mexico passes legislation early to see the benefit.