A New Mexico legislator is once again working to legalize recreational marijuana. On Dec. 21, 2017, state Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino introduced a measure that would put a ballot amendment legalizing recreational marijuana on the 2018 electoral ballot.
If approved by legislators and New Mexico voters, the ballot amendment would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The state legislature would be responsible for either crafting the rules and regulations or establishing a regulatory body to govern the new industry.
In order for Ortiz y Pino’s measure to get on the ballot, the legislature would most likely have to pass with a two-thirds majority. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is ardently against marijuana reform and most recently vetoed a bill that would have expanded and strengthened the state’s medical marijuana program.
Over the last several years, Ortiz y Pino has attempted to pass similar measures but each one was met with defeat, including a 2017 resolution that was tabled in committee. Speaking with KRQE, Ortiz y Pino pushed back against the bill’s opponents, stating that his goal is not to enable drug addicts.
“Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t make it more available. It’s already available. Any high school kid worth their salt can find marijuana within a half-hour,” Ortiz y Pino said.