SANTA FE, N.M. — Supporters of a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana say it could generate about $60 million a year in tax revenue for New Mexico schools, health programs and other efforts.
The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee heard that estimate during a hearing on Saturday, just before voting 3-1 to allow the proposal, House Bill 89, to keep moving through the House. The committee made no recommendation on whether the bill ought to be passed or rejected.
The measure, sponsored by House Democrats Bill McCamley of Mesilla Park and Javier Martinez of Albuquerque, must go through two more committees before reaching the House floor.
“This is the one thing we can do this year that will instantly inject a massive amount of money into our economy and create jobs right away,” McCamley said.
Opponents said New Mexico should move cautiously, especially given that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
“It’s too early for this,” said Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia. “We don’t know what we’re doing.”