In a landmark decision for the state of New Mexico, the Governor has signed a law decriminalizing the sale of adult-use marijuana. The legislation will allow retail sales to begin as early as April 1 of 2022. The law stresses social equity and small business opportunities. It was passed during a special session, which the Governor called after legislation stalled. The 2021 Marijuana Business Factbook predicts that sales will reach $150 million in the first full year and $425 million annually by the fourth year.
In addition to decriminalizing marijuana, the legislation also has measures aimed at promoting equity and restorative justice, such as automatic expungement of criminal records for low-level crimes. Advocates have praised the weed seeds for indoor growing bill’s requirements for creating a more diverse marketplace, including language naming several diverse communities. Expungement of past cannabis convictions could help thousands of New Mexicans move forward with their lives.
In addition to decriminalizing cannabis, the law also allows adult residents to grow up to six plants for personal use and sell them. The law also allows for unlimited storage inside homes. Additionally, the law will eliminate the possibility of police searches for the smell of marijuana. It will also prevent local governments from prohibiting or regulating marijuana businesses. However, they can still regulate marijuana businesses by determining the location and hours of operation.
The bill’s timeline for implementation is also very long. Retail sales of marijuana will be legal in New Mexico in April 2022. There will be a 12% sales tax on recreational marijuana. This tax will increase every year until it reaches 18 percent in 2030. Retail sales of cannabis lastest about cannabis will only be permitted for adults over the age of 21. The bill also includes an exemption for medical marijuana. Ultimately, it will allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana at home or in the office. The law also allows home-grown marijuana to be grown.
Despite these restrictions, the bill does not end the legalization of marijuana in New Mexico. Local governments can limit the number of adult-use stores, but cannot completely ban them. Moreover, local governments can limit the location of retail stores and prohibit them from operating within certain distances from schools and daycares. There are also social justice provisions in the bill, which are expected to be packaged in another bill, with the intention of encouraging disproportionately impacted communities to participate in the new industry.
The Governor’s signature caps an active legislative spring 2021. The bill was a significant policy accomplishment, delivering on a long-held priority of the governor and the people of New Mexico. It also included numerous campaign promises. In addition to decriminalizing marijuana, the bill also included a constitutional amendment for early childhood education. A constitutional amendment was approved to increase early childhood education funding, and the legislature also passed a sweeping tax overhaul with a large tax rebate for middle-class families.