Legislature: Cannabis Legalization Act Passes House Health Committee


Legalization would regulate the industry, create jobs, and generate tax dollars for New Mexico

Cannabis legalization cleared its first step Monday morning in the New Mexico House of Representatives, passing the House Health and Human Services Committee. 

Sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), and Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 12: The Cannabis Regulation Act legalizes and regulates the use, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products. HB 12 implements a responsible, tightly regulated system with a strict set of rules and regulations, including that individuals must be 21 and over to purchase the products, and the sales would hold a 9% excise tax. 

“Legalizing cannabis in New Mexico will increase consumer safety by bringing strict regulations to the industry, and will boost our economy by generating tax dollars and creating jobs,” said Rep. Javier Martínez. “Economic projections indicate that recreational cannabis sales in New Mexico could total as much as $318 million in the first year alone, creating over 11,000 new jobs.”

“We understand that bringing an underground market into the light requires vigilance, deliberation, statewide input from our community members and stakeholders, ingenuity, and learning from other states’ experience,” said Rep. Andrea Romero. “That’s why this bill has been written and rewritten until we got it right. House Bill 12 contains critical safeguards for public health, New Mexico youth, medical cannabis patients and our environment.”

“With House Bill 12, we have a comprehensive and responsible legalization framework for adult use of cannabis,” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong. “This bill represents years of hard work by its sponsors and advocates that prioritizes protections for children, preserves our robust medical cannabis program, and is smart public health policy.”

HB 12 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee with a 7-4 vote, and will be heard next in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. 

According to a recent poll conducted by Change Research, 74% of New Mexicans support the legalization of cannabis. Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia have already legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.