Statement from Drug Policy Alliance’s Emily Kaltenbach: Arizona Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis — New Mexico Can Follow Suit this Coming January

Social Equity and Community Reinvestment Must Be Focus of New Mexico Legalization Bill

“Arizona has overwhelmingly approved cannabis legalization in their ballot initiative yesterday. As early as November 30th, adults in Arizona will be able to possess up to one ounce and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.  It’s now up to state regulators to establish rules for the new marketplace.  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. 
Arizona will join Colorado as a destination for New Mexicans to purchase legal cannabis  –  Colorado already reports that nearly 40% of their sales are to out-of-state residents, many of those being New Mexicans in the northern part of the state who easily hop over the border to purchase.  Last night’s win in Arizona now offers communities in the Western and Southern part of the state, including Gallup, Reserve, Silver City, Lordsburg and Las Cruces, similar access. New Mexico will continue to see an outflow of dollars that could instead be cannabis tax revenue that the state could use to reinvest back into communities impacted by cannabis arrests. 

New Mexicans are ready for cannabis legalization, and they want to see equity built into the legislative proposal to help right the many wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs. Legislation introduced in the upcoming 2021 legislative session must reinvest back into communities most harmed by drug prohibition, particularly Hispanic/Latino, Black and Native populations in New Mexico. Repairing the damage done by cannabis prohibition is not negotiable. It is time to stop criminalizing people for cannabis and instead realize the economic and social benefits of having cannabis possession and sales regulated in New Mexico.”