Will 2017 be the year marijuana is legalized in New Mexico?

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Rep. Bill McCamley of Las Cruces is hoping that the fourth time is the charm when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico.

“On the house side, Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives for the last two years and they’ve killed this. I mean, they’ve not let this out for discussion. I’ve introduced this three separate times.” McCamley said today in a press conference in Las Cruces.

McCamley’s bill has been thwarted thrice before, once in 2015 and twice last year (including during the special session to specifically address the state’s abysmal economic situation) during the Republican controlled years of the New Mexico house. Now that Democrats are in control of the house once again, and have strengthened their position in the senate, McCamley is hopeful the bill has real legs this year.

He pointed out that over the last two years, his bill has been indiscriminately assigned to spurious house committees where it was “guaranteed” to die before ever reaching the house floor for discussion.

McCamley’s bill, the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act, will be formally introduced tomorrow, January 11, 2017.

His bill would need to pass the house and then the senate before then being signed into law by the governor, something Susana Martinez has in the past stated she wouldn’t do. But with the state’s economic situation somewhere south of dire and members of her own party stating their support for the economic benefits of recreational legalization, perhaps this year could be different.

Multiple polls have shown an overwhelming support for legalizing recreational pot. There’s over 50 percent support for it in general around the state, with higher margins when people are aware that the revenue will help fund education and law enforcement.

It’s expected that Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque will introduce a companion bill in the State Senate this year that would put the question directly to voters in the form of a ballot measure. His constitutional amendment failed last year but did actually reach the senate floor where it was discussed at some length before being defeated.

Trust that ProgressNow New Mexico will keep you updated about the progress of this bill and other good-for-the-state bills that come up this legislative session. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for other updates as our staff covers issues around the state.

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