Public News Service – NM » February 03, 2014
SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico could join the ranks of Colorado and Washington if lawmakers approve legislation allowing voters to determine the issue of marijuana legalization. The New Mexico State Legislature, now in session, is considering Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR 10), which would put the question of decriminalizing marijuana on the November ballot.
Alex Curtas, director of research and special projects, Progress Now New Mexico, said positive circumstances following marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State prove that it does not lead to more chaos and crime.
“In Colorado and Washington, their programs are going off very well and making revenue for the state and not leading to increases in violence or drug use,” Curtas said.
Polling research shows that the majority of New Mexicans support the full legalization of marijuana, he said, also citing President Obama’s recent comments that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.
Curtas said New Mexicans could also save an estimated $33 million dollars a year by avoiding the costs of police, court and incarceration linked to marijuana-related crimes. Taxing the drug would generate millions of dollars in new money, he noted.
“The tax revenues that have been estimated, from a study that was done in 2008, are between $19 million and almost $21 million,” he pointed out.
Even with voter approval, Curtas said marijuana would not become legal in New Mexico until 2016, at the earliest.
The legislation is available at www.nmlegis.gov.