New Mexico state legislatures voted in favor of passing the Cannabis Regulation Act, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, while also decriminalizing past offenses for possession, USA TODAY reports. The bill will be sent to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has already stated via Twitter that her “signing pen is ready.”
According to Rolling Stone, New Mexico will become the 16th state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and the second state to do so in less than 48 hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a similar bill Wednesday morning. Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, anyone over the age of 21 can possess up to two ounces of weed, up to six plants can be cultivated at a person’s home, and those arrested for low-level offenses will have their criminal records expunged.
“New Mexico is a state, like most other states, that has experienced disproportionate arrests for cannabis,” Emily Kaltenbach of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico told Rolling Stone. “This bill is going to change lives in New Mexico, not only from the automatic expungement and re-sentencing components, but to help create some equity in the industry and protection for users.”
Grisham previously touted marijuana legalization as a means to create jobs, turn New Mexico into a tourist attraction, and boost the economy, bringing in an estimated $20 million of revenue in 2023. The state is aiming to have commercial sales of cannabis by April 2022.
Virginia appears to be the next state in line to push for legalization as Gov. Ralph Northam has pushed for an accelerated timetable to legislation passed earlier this year that would allow for adults over 21 to legally possess and grow marijuana by July.