SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced the establishment of the Cannabis Legalization Working Group, a convening of stakeholders and policy experts who will, through the summer and fall, study proposals to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis in the state of New Mexico, identify best practices from other states and jurisdictions that have legalized the substance and ensure any legalization proposal incorporates mechanisms to ensure public safety.
The group, to be led by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, will make recommendations to the governor that will be incorporated into legislation to be introduced next year.
After legislative proposals to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis for New Mexico adults failed to advance through the state Legislature earlier this year, Gov. Lujan Grisham said she will place the matter of legalization on her call for the Second Session of the 54th Legislature, a 30-day session which will begin January 2020.
“This group will ensure we begin the next session with a credible, equitable and cohesive legalization proposal that will incorporate all public safety concerns, workplace regulations, labeling requirements that protect underage children and all manner of other issues,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “There are open questions about how legalization can work best for New Mexico. This group will answer those questions, and we will arrive at the next session prepared.
“I want New Mexico’s introduction and management of recreational cannabis to be the envy of the country,” the governor added. “We can and will incorporate lessons learned from other states so that New Mexico provides for a well-regulated industry that, crucially, does not infringe on or harm our expanding medical cannabis program, upon which so many New Mexicans rely.”
“New Mexico has been on the forefront of marijuana policy for more than a decade, and I am confident that this working group can help chart a path to recreational cannabis in New Mexico in a way that accomplishes the governor’s goals,” Councilor Davis said. “The people on this team will put their knowledge and experience to work to propose a program that will grow local jobs, ensure public safety and protect our robust medical program.”
The working group comprises a broad cross-section of representatives, advocates and stakeholders, among them state agency leaders who will oversee the implementation and regulation of legalized cannabis; elected officials from both major parties; and representatives of the medical cannabis industry as well as tribal, labor, banking and law enforcement representatives.
The working group membership includes:
State Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque; State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell; Environment Secretary James Kenney; Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel; Regulation and Licensing Superintendent Marguerite Salazar; Senior Economist James Girard of the Taxation and Revenue Department; Chief Counsel Matthew L. Garcia of the Office of the Governor; Senior Counsel Matt Baca of the Office of the Attorney General; Sheriff Kim Stewart of Doña Ana County; Finance Director Les Rubin of Picuris Pueblo; Rachael Speegle of the Verdes Foundation; Ryan Gomez of PurLife Management Group; Jim Griffin of Everest Apothecary; Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance; Shanon Jaramillo of Cannabis New Mexico Staffing; General Counsel Grace Phillips of the New Mexico Association of Counties; Lorin Saavedra of Southwest Capital Bank; construction industry representative Sam Baca and representatives of Presbyterian Healthcare Services and United Food and Commercial Workers.