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Marijuana legalization proposal snuffed out in Senate

SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposal to legalize and tax recreational marijuana use in New Mexico was voted down tonight on a 17-24 vote in the Senate, with six Senate Democrats joining Republicans in casting “no” votes against the measure.

A proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 5 would have been placed on the November ballot if it had gained approval in both the House and Senate.

Despite the defeat, backers vowed to try again in future years.

“It’s clear that if we get it on the ballot, New Mexicans will support it,” said Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, the measure’s sponsor.

It was the first time a marijuana legalization measure had ever made it to the full House or Senate, and would have made New Mexico the nation’s fifth state to legalize recreational pot — joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

Though critics said legalizing pot could lead to increased crime rates, supporters claimed it would bolster the state’s sluggish economy.

The six Senate Democrats voting against the measure were Sens. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, John Arthur Smith of Deming, George Munoz of Gallup, Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces, John Pinto of Tohatchi and Clemente Sanchez of Grants.


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