Santa Fe, NM – In response to New Mexico’s first day of adult use cannabis sales, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
“A new era for marijuana justice is here. After years of hard work against long odds, New Mexicans can finally legally purchase cannabis for adult use. By placing social equity and justice front and center, the Cannabis Regulation Act is an outright victory for the communities hit hardest by the cruel and inhumane war on drugs. And this reform wouldn’t have been possible had it not been the years of input and dedication from New Mexicans across the state. From Gallup to Deming to Clovis to Taos, New Mexicans made sure that legalization included equitable opportunities for farmers and other small businesses, medical cannabis patients and long overdue justice for those with past cannabis arrests or convictions.
“On Friday, we celebrate. Then, next week, we continue the hard work to make sure that cannabis tax revenue gets reinvested back into communities most harmed by prohibition and that the law is implemented fairly and justly for all New Mexicans.”
For years, DPA has been on the forefront working to end marijuana prohibition in New Mexico and create a new, well-regulated, and inclusive marijuana industry that is rooted in racial and economic justice.
DPA has been supporting the call for adult-use legalization and regulation since the initial conversations with Senator Ortiz y Pino in 2014, and later with House Majority Leader Javier Martinez, Representatives Andrea Romero and Deborah Armstrong, and Senators Duhigg and Lopez.
In 2021, DPA worked closely with advocates, communities impacted by prohibition and lawmakers to reach the finish line and see the legislature pass the Cannabis Regulation Act and the Expungement of Certain Criminal Records Act with provisions for addressing prior harms of criminalization, social equity, and the protection of medical cannabis patients.
The NM Cannabis Regulation Act specifically allows adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of cannabis flower, and up to 16 grams of extracts and 800 milligrams of edibles. It is legal to grow at home no more than six mature and six immature cannabis plants per person (maximum of 12 mature/12 immature per household) for adult use cannabis.
The Cannabis Regulation Act and the Expungement Act include various provisions to benefit communities most impacted by marijuana prohibition, including:
- Individuals with prior marijuana convictions will be able to apply for a license and work in the marijuana industry without restriction.
- The law also requires a new Cannabis Control Division to develop policies and procedures that promote and encourage full participation in the cannabis industry by representatives of:
- Communities that have been disproportionately harmed by rates of arrest through the enforcement of cannabis prohibitions in law and policy
- Rural communities likely to be impacted by cannabis production
- Agricultural producers from economically disadvantaged communities
- Requires a certification that makes it easier for consumers to identify products from licensees that are:
- Integrated cannabis microbusinesses or cannabis producer microbusinesses
- Owned by representatives of communities that have been disproportionately harmed by rates of cannabis-related arrests
- Underserved populations that include tribal, acequia, land grant-merced and other rural historic communities.
- Prohibits police from stopping and searching an individual or vehicle based on the smell of cannabis alone.
- Does not allow denial of public benefits or health care based on cannabis use or a positive cannabis drug test.
- Prohibits using prior cannabis convictions to bar anyone from licensure or employment of any kind.
- Automatically expunges public records related to cannabis if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Two years after the arrest or conviction was made
- Held by a court, state or local jurisdiction where the offense is no longer a crime or would have resulted in a lesser offense
- Requires correctional facilities and jails to notify the court of current or formerly incarcerated individuals who may qualify to have their cases reopened and considered for dismissal or expungement.