On Wednesday, July 10, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s newly assembled cannabis legalization team—comprised of local elected representatives, industry professionals and city, state and county officials—convened for its first strategy session in Santa Fe at the Governor’s Office. The working group’s prime mover is Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis. As the Albuquerque Journal reports, Davis referenced 63 cannabis-centric bills introduced at the Roundhouse since 2012 to illustrate the wealth of local data being analyzed by the group, which aims to host four public meetings to examine prior legislative efforts and devise a path forward. Soliciting stakeholder feedback is also a stated objective of the working group.
In voicing her support for recreational cannabis, Lujan Grisham has repeatedly emphasized the importance of addressing all relevant public safety issues and potential ramifications for the more than 70,000 patients presently enrolled in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program. Statewide, indicators of public approval of recreational cannabis have increased steadily over the past few years. The same Journal article cites the daily newspaper’s Sept. 2018 poll of registered New Mexico voters, which found that 60 percent of respondents “would support legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use and tax its sales.” Although support varied geographically, “a majority of those polled in every region said they would support legalizing cannabis.” The working group will make its recommendation to the governor before the close of October. The next public meeting is slated for Aug. 14 in Albuquerque.