New Mexico has decided to join 15 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana use. Virginia is likely to be next on this list.
Clearly, the race towards the legalization of weed throughout the nation is picking up pace. There is a movement pushing to ensure that cannabis is legal in all of America.
It is therefore not surprising that New Mexico is so close to being among these states. All that remains is for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the legislation into law.
That will effectively make New Mexico the sixteenth state to legalize recreational marijuana use. That made the state the second to do so in 24 hours, after New York.
Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, also signed a bill that legalized the use of marijuana recreationally.
According to the governor, this marks a significant victory for the state of New Mexico. Among other things, she foresees improvements in tax revenues, employment, and a reduction in low-level convictions.
Like in New York, the legalization bill in New Mexico will also put many measures that focus on equity and restorative justice. That will include the automatic expunging of criminal records for people arrested for low-level offenses.
Another aspect of the bill that has impressed many is that it requires the state to promote marketplace diversity. The bill also takes into account the complex history of the state.
According to Emily Kaltenbach of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico, the bill has specific language that mentions Acequia, land grant, tribal, and other historic communities.
Kaltenbach pointed out that New Mexico has gone through disproportionate cannabis-related arrests. Consequently, the legislation will also bring about equity in the industry and protect users and the expungement of re-sentencing components.
Adults above 21 years of age can be in possession of up to two ounces of cannabis under this law. At home, people can also cultivate up to six plants.
However, while New York allows local governments to opt out of retail sales, New Mexico does not.
In addition to this development, the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, announced his proposal to change legislation passed earlier in the year to improve the pace at which the state legalizes recreational marijuana.
With the adoption of these changes, cannabis will be legal in the state by July 1st, 2012. According to legislation passed earlier in the year, that wouldn't have happened until 2024.
Northam stated that the state of Virginia was committed to equitably legalizing marijuana. The governor also explained that the state was keen on doing this to ensure public safety, health, and social justice.
However, given the pace at which marijuana legalization is taking place, Virginia might be overtaken by other states in this race. Within a short time, many other states are likely to have legalized marijuana use or recreational purposes as well.