New Mexico governor set to sign bill that would legalize recreational cannabis

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Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks following the end of New Mexico’s annual legislative session on Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was set Monday to sign legislation that will legalize recreational cannabis use and sales in the state, making it the seventh since last November to do so.

The governor, a Democrat, has supported cannabis reform as a way to create jobs and shore up state revenue.

Her office in an advisory said she was scheduling a bill signing ceremony and news conference for later in the day.

New Mexico voters ousted ardent opponents of legalization from the state Senate in the 2020 Democratic primary, opening the way for legalization of recreational cannabis.

The governor called a special legislative session to tackle the issue in late March after legalization efforts faltered.

Legislators rallied behind a legalization framework from state Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque that provides automated procedures for expunging past pot convictions.

The bill gives the governor a strong hand in oversight of recreational cannabis through her appointed superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department.

Regulators can put a cap on cannabis cultivation quantities and impose a per-plant state fee of up to $50 a year.

Some of the state’s medical cannabis producers lobbied for market controls amid concerns that cannabis prices might plummet with the legalization of recreational cannabis, undermining investments and employment.

People age 21 and over will be allowed to buy and possess up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of cannabis outside their homes.

Home cannabis growers will be allowed to grow up to six plants per person, or 12 per household. The scent of cannabis will no longer be grounds for police seizures.

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