New Mexico House Health and Human Services Committee Passes Equity-Focused Legalization Bill

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Gathered before a legislative crossroads, the New Mexico House Health and Human Services Committee made its intent clear on cannabis legalization: Social equity is going to be part of the process.

Today, the committee advanced House Bill 12 to the House Tax Committee, while ultimately tabling a similar legalization bill (House Bill 17) that did not include specific equity language. It was a clear signal to advocates and residents that the state is getting serious about developing a robust cannabis program.

The Drug Policy Alliance has regularly cited H.B. 12 this year as a favorable bill that might usher in a more progressive state marketplace. 

“Legalization must be responsive to the lives of New Mexicans, not solely business interests, and that means centering social justice, as the H.B. 12 introduced by Rep. Martinez, Rep. Andrea Romero and Rep. Deborah Armstrong does,” Emily Kaltenbach, senior director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a public statement. “New Mexicans are absolutely ready to see marijuana legalization become a reality in the state, but they have made it clear that repairing the damage done by the drug war is non-negotiable. Any legislation considered this session must reinvest back into communities most harmed by drug prohibition, particularly Hispanic/Latino, Black and Native populations in New Mexico.”

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, “nearly three out of four New Mexicans approve of cannabis legalization with provisions in place to ensure tax revenue is reinvested back into communities, including 94% of Democrats, 93% of Independents and 46% of Republicans.”

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