New Mexico Passes Cannabis Legalization And Expungement Package

Above photo: From KVIA.

Cannabis Regulation Act (HB2/SB2) Provides Long Overdue Justice and Social Equity to New Mexico Communities Most Harmed by Prohibition.

Santa Fe, NM – With the New Mexico Legislature approving social justice-centered cannabis legalization during the special session today, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:

“New Mexicans are finally able to exhale. After many years of hard work, another whirlwind legislative session, and input from stakeholders throughout the state, social justice-centered cannabis legalization is on its way to the Governor’s desk, where she has already agreed to sign.

We thank the Governor and our legislative allies for not taking ‘no’ for an answer and stopping at nothing until we were able to get justice for New Mexico communities—particularly Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous—that have been immensely harmed by cannabis prohibition.

Today’s passage of the cannabis legalization and expungement package will ensure equitable opportunities for farmers and other small businesses, and long overdue justice—including automatic expungement—for those with past cannabis arrests or convictions.

And it doesn’t stop there. We still have our work cut out for us to fully repair the damage that has been done as a result of the war on drugs, and that means coming back during the 2022 budget session to ensure funds are made available for critical reinvestment in the communities that have been most harmed.”

Background
In December, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act that frames cannabis reform as a racial justice and equity mandate.  The MORE Act was the first piece of comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that decriminalizes marijuana—and the only one centered in reparative justice—to pass either chamber of Congress.  Arizona and New Jersey passed legalization proposals this past year that center equity and racial justice as well, and New York just passed the most ambitious reform yet on Wednesday–centering community reinvestment, social equity and justice–at its core.

Nearly three out of four New Mexicans approve of cannabis legalization with provisions in place to ensure tax revenue is reinvested back into communities, including 94% of Democrats, 93% of Independents and 46% of Republicans.