Today, a bill to legalize marijuana and establish a commercial market for the drug failed to garner enough votes for passage in the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee. This tremendous victory for public health follows a year-long push by the marijuana industry to pass a bill largely written by the industry and its investors.
A broad coalition under the banner of Smart Approaches to Marijuana New Mexico (SAM New Mexico), including the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico County Sheriff’s Association, the Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Business Coalition led the opposition to the bill and celebrate its defeat.
“The passage of this bill would have been a huge gift to Big Pot, but a calamitous loss to public health, safety, and commonsense. As such, today’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee is a resounding victory,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president and co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and its New Mexico affiliate. “Our coalition made clear to lawmakers that the industry-drafted proposal to legalize in New Mexico was a non-starter as it failed to resolve the myriad issues related to increased use, impaired driving, and the underground market. We are honored to have been a part of the discussion and we applaud New Mexico’s lawmakers for standing with the health, science, and safety communities over the interests of Big Pot.”
“As we have said before, marijuana commercialization in New Mexico would be the worst possible option at the worst possible time. With today’s vote, our lawmakers sent the message that they are dedicated to creating a healthy and safe environment and standing against expanded drug use,” said Vince Torres, Executive Director of the Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico. “Expanding the second coming of Big Tobacco into our communities would accomplish nothing its proponents claimed, while unleashing a multitude of harms. Today is a great day for New Mexico.”
A poll conducted earlier this year found that when given the full spectrum of options on marijuana policy, 63% of New Mexico voters opposed the creation of a commercial marijuana market. What’s more, the defeat of this bill continues a recent trend of state legislatures rejecting marijuana commercialization as legalization bills were defeated New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Minnesota, Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island in the last year.