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  Legislator Wants NM To Legalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 04, 2014 at 15:07:18 PT
By James Monteleone, Journal Staff Writer  
Source: Albuquerque Journal 

cannabis New Mexico -- A day after Colorado opened its doors to the legalized sale of recreational marijuana, a state senator said New Mexico should consider following suit.

Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat, said he will introduce a constitutional amendment proposal to legalize recreational marijuana when the Legislature convenes this month.

The constitutional amendment would go on the general election ballot this November if approved by both the House and Senate. Constitutional amendment proposals go straight from the Legislature to voters, and Gov. Susana Martinez would not be able to act on the measure if it were approved by lawmakers.

Martinez, a Republican and a former district attorney, opposes drug legalization.

There also were indications Thursday that Ortiz y Pino’s proposals could get cold shoulders from Republicans in the Legislature.

Ortiz y Pino said his proposal will be modeled after the Colorado voter referendum that in 2012 legalized recreational marijuana use in that state. Colorado on Wednesday allowed marijuana dispensaries to begin selling the drug to the public, with a 25 percent tax earmarked to help fund education programs.

“I think the argument we’ll make is that this is basically an opportunity for the public to decide if they want to do it,” Ortiz y Pino said. “…If they don’t (vote for it) we go back to the drawing board.”

If the proposal were adopted by the Legislature and ratified by voters, lawmakers could take up consideration of specifics in 2015 with legislation to determine how marijuana might be sold, taxed and regulated in New Mexico, Ortiz y Pino said.

Legalization would allow the state to redirect resources currently used to enforce laws criminalizing marijuana while also creating a new source of tax revenue for the state, Ortiz y Pino said.

“The whole point would be that it would be a step toward a more rational approach to a use of the substance, much as we do with alcohol now,” Ortiz y Pino said.

Legislative Republicans say the proposal will face a tough road, especially during this year’s 30-day legislative session. The so-called short sessions of the Legislature have more limited agendas than 60-day sessions in odd-numbered years and are intended to focus on passage of a state budget. Constitutional amendment proposals, however, can be introduced at any time.

A proposal last year to reduce criminal penalties for personal marijuana use passed the House on a 37-33 vote but never was taken up by the Senate before the Legislature adjourned.

House Minority Whip Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, who voted in favor of the reduced penalties bill, said marijuana legalization through the state Constitution would have less of a chance of passing.

“I don’t think it moves,” Gentry said. “… It’s something that needs to be considered in a very thoughtful way, not by willy-nilly amending the Constitution.”

Gentry said he viewed the proposal to legalize marijuana through a constitutional amendment as an effort to bypass a veto by the governor, who has voiced opposition to loosening state drug laws.

Newshawk: Universer
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Author: James Monteleone, Journal Staff Writer
Published: January 3, 2014
Copyright: 2014 Albuquerque Journal

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Comment #7 posted by Hope on January 06, 2014 at 10:51:01 PT
Comment 5
Right on, Runruff. I've been wondering a little about how old virtuous Bill has been taking all this. I'm sure he's seething... and very unhappy that fewer people are going to be ruined by his fetish.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on January 05, 2014 at 17:12:00 PT
new Mexcio
another state with no referendums. Look to Arizona for progress first.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by runruff on January 05, 2014 at 07:26:34 PT
I had to wait 20 years to make this comeback!
In 1994 I saw Former Drug Czar, William Bennett, on a news/talk show. The host asked him if we shouldn't have a national conversation about the prohibition of pot? Fat Bill oinked his reply, " Marijuana is bad, marijuana is illegal, end of discussion"!

Well here is a little something for you to bet on. You lost! You were not credible. You were shallow and transparent.

To make it clear, in your own language; Oink snort snort! Grunt, squeel, grunt oink, oink!

There! Is that plain enough for you?

Now, here is my 20 delayed comeback to you, you political sycaphant!

Cannabis is good, cannabis is legal. END OF DISCUSSION1!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 04, 2014 at 23:22:03 PT
Colorado is younger, bolder, and braver.
New Mexico, I think, is slow to change and burdened heavily by old ways and old ideas. The people are "Old", very old, in their ways and cling to tradition as "Safer", even if there is a better way right in front of them. Of course that's just my impression.

I love New Mexico. It's one of my favorite places to visit. I love the desert. But I think the good senator is, necessarily, of course, breaking ground for the more distant future in an "Old" place that is as hard to change as the desert is.

But when deserts are changed.... Wow. It's a big deal.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by keninsj on January 04, 2014 at 17:33:51 PT:

The Domino affect.
Looks like the domino effect is beginning. Can't wait to see them all fall.

I think once people see that all the horrible things that were predicted to happen never materialized, it will go even faster.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by The GCW on January 04, 2014 at 15:41:17 PT
Yeah Baby is right!
How many states are having this very same conversation?

It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when and states know it. The sooner they get with the program the sooner the sky will stop falling in in their state.

Because with cannabis prohibition, the sky IS falling in. States can not afford to waste the scarce resources that are used to maintain cannabis prohibition.

The high cost of discrimination will only increase and drain states. End the sucking sound.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on January 04, 2014 at 15:15:36 PT
Yeah Baby!
The wall is crumbling fast...

[ Post Comment ]

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