New Mexico became the latest country to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older after Michelle Lujan Grishan signed two bills into law on Tuesday.
“This legislation is a big, big step forward for New Mexico state. Legalized adult-use marijuana is going to alter the way we think about the state for the better- our economy, our workforce, our future,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “We’re beginning to start righting past wrongs of this nation’s failed war on drugs. And we’re going to make history in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s future for the better.”
Lawmakers passed the two bills on March 31 after the governor, a vocal supporter of cannabis reform and a Democrat, called a special session.
House Bill 2 regulates and legalizes marijuana production, possession, and sales, while Senate Bill 2 enacts the automatic expungement of records for people convicted of low-level cannabis crimes.
Commercial marijuana sales will launch no later than April 1 2022. Taxes, which will initially be set at 12% and ultimately go up to 18%, are assured to raise tens of millions of dollars for the state.
New Mexico is now the 18th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The Land of Enchantment’s new law came following New York passed its progressive recreational law, and Virginia lawmakers voted to allow home cultivation and possession starting July 1.
“New Mexico joins a fast-growing list of states that have analyzed the failures of marijuana prohibition and the pain it brings to their citizens and communities,” Erik Altieri, the NORML executive director, said in a statement.
“The Mexican people are requesting an end to prohibitionist policies that have caused havoc on communities of natives, squandered countless millions in taxpayer money, and wasted limited law and judicial enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding citizens for possession of a product that is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.”