New Mexico lawmakers split on special session for recreational marijuana

Legislature

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – State lawmakers will be back in Santa Fe on Tuesday for a special session. Their main priority is legalizing recreational marijuana. The governor called a special session when that proposal fell short in the recent 60-day session.

As of Monday night, the marijuana bill is not even posted on the legislature’s website. So with hours left before the session starts, it’s unclear exactly how the bill will look.

Ten days after a grueling 60-day legislative session. “It’s not really goodbye,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D- New Mexico) after the regular session wrapped up. “It’s not really a goodbye, it’s take a rest and I’ll see you soon.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham is bringing lawmakers back for a special session starting on Tuesday to get legalizing recreational marijuana across the finish line. “We’re calling it the ’70-day session’ at this point because it really gave us more time to work on the bill and to perfect it,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Andrea Romero (D- Santa Fe).

The sponsors of the bill said they’ve adjusted the proposal so it’s ready to go for Tuesday. But some Republican lawmakers argue that this special session is unnecessary. “Typically in our constitution, our schedule is set out and there’s a natural course our bills go through and sometimes they go all the way through the governor’s desk and sometimes they die and there’s a reason for that,” said Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Greg Baca (R- Belen).

They worry that having a special session because one of the governor’s priorities didn’t make it through will set a bad precedent. “Really this is the governor’s exercise of power once again and she’s going to force us back in to rehear a bill that she did not receive or was not happy on the outcome and I just don’t think that’s what the special session was intended for,” said Sen. Baca.

They add that this session could cost about $50,000 a day. With a controversial bill like this, they’re not sure how long it will take to finish.

However, the Democrats, who are in the majority in both chambers, feel confident this special session will finally get recreational marijuana to the governor’s desk. “We feel this bill has been thoroughly vetted,” said Rep. Romero. “We feel there has been so much input across New Mexico.”

During this special session, the governor is also asking lawmakers to consider a proposed economic bill that would expand LEDA funding. Another note on this session, the security fencing around the capitol building, which has been up for months, has been removed. The public will still not be allowed in the Roundhouse because of COVID concerns.

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