By Morgan Lee, Associated Press
(AP) — New Mexico took a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana when its House approved a bill that would allow state-run dispensaries to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older.
The 36-34 vote sends the bill to the Democratic-controlled Senate for consideration.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has expressed guarded support for recreational marijuana legislation but addresses concerns about child access, road safety and safeguarding the state’s existing medical cannabis market.
New Mexico could become the second state after Vermont to approve legalization via legislation rather than ballot initiative.
All House Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against the bill.
If the bill passes, recreational marijuana dispensaries would open for business in July 2020 and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by people 21 and older would be considered legal. Sales will be taxed by up to 17%. Home-grown marijuana was ruled out of the proposal because it could be a source for the black market.
AP Photo: Carlos Osorio