The latest attempt to add New Mexico to the list of states that have legalized recreational pot use and taxed its sales was derailed this morning, likely signaling its demise for the 60-day legislative session.
The House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee voted 7-1 to table the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, that would have allowed marijuana retail licenses to be granted starting in July 2017.
Opponents of the pot legalization proposal said it could impair public safety and lead to more drug use on worksites.
“You are doing no one any good by making these kind of mind-altering substances more readily available,” said Dennis Kintigh, a former state representative who is now the mayor of Roswell.
While New Mexico currently has a medical marijuana law for licensed patients, attempts to pass pot legalization laws have stalled at the Legislature in recent years.
Backers of the proposal said regulating marijuana could generate more tax dollars for the state, while also claiming the drug is less addictive than tobacco or caffeine.
Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska have all passed laws allowing for the personal possession and consumption of marijuana by adults.
The bill sponsored by McCamley, House Bill 160, would have necessitated a state agency hiring at least 40 additional employees to oversee the law’s provisions, according to a fiscal review of the legislation.