In New Mexico, recreational cannabis is coming closer to reality. Two separate bills—one sponsored by House Democrats, the other by Senate Republicans—were recently approved by committees. The variations between the two pieces of legislature serve to illustrate a growing divide on how marijuana legalization should proceed.
Having passed the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday, House Bill 356 is currently the closest to become law in the state, which has had a medicinal marijuana program since 2007. Among its regulations is the permission for individuals to possess up to two grams of cannabis and grow up to six plants for personal use. It would also clear the records of New Mexico residents with some low-level cannabis convictions.
“The House will probably vote for it,” one of its five co-sponsors Senator Jerry Ortíz y Pino told the media last month. “The Senate is going to be its usual thirty-years-behind-the-times self.”
But the Senate’s Republicans have recently accepted that recreational marijuana is an impending fact in their state, and have become more agile on cannabis issues. Last month, Senator Candace Gould proposed a bill to allow New Mexico school children to use doctor recommended medical marijuana in school. And now, New Mexico Republicans