Created: November 10, 2020 06:23 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State lawmakers received new estimates on how much money the state could generate from legalizing recreation marijuana. The latest projections show a large increase from the previous estimate.
Recreational marijuana will be back on the table when the 60-day legislative session starts Jan. 19.
"I believe the time is now, I believe New Mexico is at the cusp of being a national leader in recreational cannabis legalization and am I looking forward to making that happen,” said Rep. Javier Martinez (D-District 11).
Rep. Martinez will be leading the effort. Lawmakers got an update on the process during a Tuesday committee meeting.
Bills to legalize marijuana have failed time and time again at the Roundhouse, but Martinez said he’s hopeful this time around.
"Now in 2021 we're looking at streamlining the bill a little bit. That was one of the critiques we heard from some of the opponents, that the bill was too lengthy, too convoluted, so we're streamlining that bill—but that bill will still be true to the core values,” he said.
Supports say legalization would generate about 13,000 jobs and millions of dollars for the economy.
"It's going to change New Mexico and ways we can't imagine,” said Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Health.
Rodriguez, owner of New Mexico’s largest medical marijuana company, told lawmakers that legalizing recreational marijuana could generate up to $800 million a year, which is a $200 million increase from the last estimate of $600 million.
"I think we will be a powerhouse, not only within the state, but we have the potential of being a powerhouse not only in this country, but you'd be surprised, we have the ability to also compete internationally,” Rodriguez said.
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