First cannabis legalization bills filed at Roundhouse in New Mexico

Two bills seeking to add New Mexico to the ranks of Western states that have legalized recreational cannabis for adult users were introduced in the state Senate on Monday, and additional proposals could be filed in the coming days.

The two proposals filed Monday offer different road maps for marijuana legalization, which backers say is likely to happen this year after last year’s election cycle led to shake-ups in the Legislature.

One of the two measures, Senate Bill 288, filed by Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, would require at least a one-mile buffer between licensed cannabis dispensaries.

It would also impose a 2% excise tax on top of local gross receipts taxes, while funneling much of the generated revenue into the coffers of cities and counties.

A new state agency, the Cannabis Control Commission, would be created to regulate marijuana production, manage distribution and protect employers’ authority to impose drug-free workplace policies.

“Legalization is coming, and as a state, we must get ahead of the issue and pass legislation that does not harm our communities,” Pirtle said in a statement.

In contrast, the other bill filed Monday, Senate Bill 13, would put oversight control for legalization duties within the Regulation and Licensing Department, an existing state agency. [Read more at Albuquerque Journal]

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