Drug Policy in #NMLEG 2015 (Updates)
What’s going on with drug policy legislation this session?
Well, there’s a lot of great (and not-so-great) drug policy legislation moving this session and we’ve copied the most recent Drug Policy Alliance legislative update below so you can catch up.
But before you get there, check out what happened just yesterday regarding two important marijuana policy bills:
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would relax penalties for possessing certain amounts of marijuana possession Monday night by a wide 7-3 margin.
The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Doña Ana, would reduce penalties for different amounts of marijuana.
Read that story from Joey Peters at the Santa Fe Reporter HERE.
A bill that would change background checks for medical cannabis providers and caretakers was approved by a House committee and will now head to the House floor.
MarijuanaThe House Business and Employment Committee voted in favor of HB 527, sponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque by a 9 to 4 vote.
Pacheco’s bill would allow the Department of Health to use a federal database to perform background checks on those who provide or deliver medical cannabis. The background checks would also apply to caretakers of medical cannabis patients.
Read that story from Andy Lyman at the New Mexico Political Report HERE
And here is the most recent legislative update from our friends over at the Drug Policy Alliance (from March 6):
Marijuana & Hemp
To start, Representative Armstrong’s medical cannabis research bill (HB 466) passed through Regulatory and Public Affairs by a vote of 4-2! HB 466 now awaits a date to be heard in the House Health committee. This bill would create a research fund administered by the Dept. of Health to study the uses and efficacy of medical marijuana.
Senator McSorley’s Industrial Hemp bill (SB 94) passed through Finance late last week by a vote of 8-1. Earlier this week, SB 94 received its vote on the Senate Floor where it passed 33-8! SB 94 will now move over to the House where it will be heard first in Agriculture, Water, and Wildlife.
Harm Reduction & Criminal Justice
SB 583 a.k.a. “Ban the Box” received its vote on the Senate Floor where it also passed! SB 583’s first committee is Business & Employment. Opponents of this bill presume that local business owners would not support this legislation. If you own or know of someone who owns a small business and support “Ban the Box” legislation, consider voicing your opinion during the next committee hearing. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive an alert of when the bill will be heard.
Last night, Senator Martinez’ legislation which will strengthen our Good Samaritan laws (SB 441) was heard in Public Affairs where it passed 6-1. This bill would protect people who are probation or parole or who have a restraining order from being arrested if they call 911 on behalf of someone experiencing a alcohol or drug overdose.
Bills We Oppose
While Representative Rehm’s drugged driving bill (HB 120) has sat on the House calendar, we anticipate that there will be a vote before the week’s end.
Senator Cervantes’ decriminalization legislation (SB 383) will be heard this afternoon/evening (1/2 hour after the Senate Fl session adjourns) in Rm 321 – Judiciary.
Additionally, Representative Cook’s Asset Forfeiture legislation (HB 560) is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday of next week in its first committee, Safety & Civil Affairs.
In the meantime, stay tuned to our twitter @DPANM for updates on the fly.