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New Mexico: Lawmakers Fail to Approve [Cannabis] Legalization Before Key Legislative Deadline

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Members of the New Mexico state House and Senate failed to approve House Bill 12 to legalize and regulate the adult-use [cannabis] market prior to Saturday’s adjournment of the 2021 legislative session.

A spokesperson for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday evening that “the governor is prepared to call a special session to get cannabis done and done right.”

“Lawmakers, for the moment, have once again failed to deliver common sense [cannabis] policy reform for the people of New Mexico — an overwhelming majority of whom support legalizing cannabis for adults.” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “In the interim, thousands of their constituents, disproportionately their constituents of color, will continue to be saddled with criminal records and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.”

House Bill 12 sought to allow adults to legally purchase up to two ounces of [cannabis] and 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers, and also would have permitted the home-cultivation of up to six mature plants for one’s own personal use. Under this measure, those convicted of offenses involving the possession of up to two ounces of [cannabis] possession would have been eligible for automatic expungement, and those currently incarcerated for these offenses would have been eligible for either a dismissal or a revision of their sentence.


NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use [cannabis] responsibly no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country.


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