New Mexico’s Senate Commission approved two separate cannabis legalization reforms during a Tuesday hearing. This comes as legislators combine several proposals into one initiative before the legislative deadline that’s slated for late March.
The Senate Business, Tax, and Transportation panel unanimously approved a senate Republican-led reform to regulate and authorize cannabis for 21 and older adults. In another 7-4 ‘pass’ vote, the committee ascended a revised version of the House legislation that was approved by that department in late February.
Two additional senate reforms, SB13 and SB363, that the commission mulled over in a preceding hearing, were stalled after consulting their sponsors as legislators proceed with merging different reforms into one.
Peter Wirth, the Senate Majority Leader who is also one of the committee members, voted to support the two remaining legislations, SB288 and HB12, noting the need for legislators to continue eliminating the bill’s remaining differences.
Peter said that he’s moving both reforms forward and he doesn’t want to introduce a sense that they’re picking one reform over another.
Both bills will now head to the Senate Judiciary Commission. Representative Martinez Javier, HB12’s lead sponsor, said during the Tuesday hearing that there’s a lot of time to approve legalization before the current session comes to an end on 20th March.
Martinez noted that this legislative session has limited time, adding that he still believes there’s enough time to come to a consensus.
Reforms are significantly overlapping at this stage of the process; however, some differences are still evident. Amendments on both proposals during the hearing harmonized them together.
Another SB288 enacted by the committee, for instance, eradicates a text that would enable local administrations to decline local operation of authorized cannabis ventures. Senator Cliff Pirtle asserted that the change would inhibit regulatory patchwork currently existing around the sale of alcohol.