New Mexico was set to become the 16th state to legalize recreational marijuana after the Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday, joining a national movement to rethink antidrug laws that are increasingly seen as impediments to racial justice and the economy.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said she would sign the bill, which would also expunge the criminal records of people who possessed marijuana for personal use. She said in a statement that workers, entrepreneurs and the government would benefit from the new industry, creating jobs and tax revenue.
“And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions,” she said.
The bill passed on the same day that New York State legalized recreational marijuana. Lawmakers in both states said they were motivated to produce a legal, tax-revenue-generating industry that formerly operated underground, and to end arrests for low-level offenses.
Under the New Mexico law, people over 21 would be permitted to have up to two ounces of marijuana, and individuals could have six plants at home, or up to 12 per household. Sales would begin no later than April 2022 and be taxed at 12 percent, eventually rising to 18 percent, plus gross receipts taxes.