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New Mexico becomes the 16th state to legalize adult marijuana

  • Adults in New Mexico will soon be able to own and grow marijuana.
  • The state legalized recreational cannabis use this year, with retail sales starting by April 2022.
  • “We will start correcting past mistakes from this country’s failed drug war,” said Governor Michel Lujan-Grisham.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

From this summer, New Mexicans aged 21 and over will be able to own and grow marijuana. On Monday, the state became the last to legalize the use of cannabis for recreation – retail sales will begin in early 2022.

Gov. Michel Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who convened a special session of the legislature in March to reform state drug laws, signed a legalization law. She is also signing her accompanying bill, which will give many with past marijuana convictions a clean record.

“We will start correcting past mistakes from the country̵

7;s failed drug war,” Luyan-Grisham said in a statement. “And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that can transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”

One of the country’s poorest countries, the legal cannabis industry could generate a $ 318 million market and more than 11,000 jobs, according to an economic analysis snatched from the governor.

Although the political scene in New Mexico has long been dominated by Democrats, the state has struggled for years to move forward with marijuana legalization, with reform efforts thwarted by more conservative party members. In 2020, however, several of these conservative Democrats lost their first race to more progressive contenders, who continued to win in November, displacing the state senate to the left.

Until marijuana becomes legal on June 29, New Mexico residents will have to grow their own for a while (the new law allows up to six plants). This is because the state will first have to develop both regulatory infrastructure and sufficient commercial supply before allowing retail sales, which can begin as early as April 2022.

The advantage for marijuana users is that, unlike California and some other states that have legalized cannabis, local authorities will not be able to issue general sales bans within their jurisdiction, the Albuquerque newspaper reported. And anyone whose past crime would now be legal or result in a lower sentence will automatically have their case file deleted, according to Las Cruces Sun News.

Although New Mexico is known for its libertarian stripe, Republicans in the state are unhappy.

“Recreational marijuana is hardly a topical issue,” a New Mexico NP statement said Monday, arguing that “legalizing cannabis will lead to even more crime, juvenile use and driving disruption.”

In fact, studies show that the percentage of marijuana use by young people has either remained the same or decreased in countries that have legalized recreational use. Studies have also failed to find a clear link between road safety and the legal status of cannabis. And researchers have found little or no impact on crime.

Now 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. Colorado, in 2012, was the first.

Do you have any news advice? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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