LAS CRUCES, NM — New Mexico landed a spot on Forbes’ list of the states most likely to legalize marijuana in 2019. And with a governor who has publicly supported the idea of recreational cannabis, Forbes may have been on the money.
New Mexico House Bill 356 proposes to legalize recreational marijuana for the state. Daniel Reyes is the lead patient consultant at Sacred Garden, a medical dispensary in Las Cruces, and he hopes a recreational market will lower costs for patients.
“It’s very hard for these patients to access this medicine when it’s so expensive. If you have a recreational market that you can have a tax and regulate, then you could give breaks to those patients that are in necessity of these medicines because it does work and it is beneficial to all of us,” Reyes said.
According to the Boston Globe, when Massachusetts legalized marijuana in November 2018, consumers spent over $440,000 at two stores. With a 6.25% sales tax and a 10.75% tax on marijuana, the first day of sales brought in just under $75,000 of tax revenue for the state.
Reyes hopes the tax revenue can benefit the community.
“I think we should set something aside for our infrastructure education,” he said.
Some Las Crucans, however, don’t like the idea.
“Since I’m a Christian I don’t really like tobacco, alcohol, so marijuana will fall into that as well, so for that reason I don’t like it,” Sulma Ochart said.
“We’re going to have people in the workforce industry that are going to become lazy or they’re going to be operating machinery that is dangerous or hazardous to operate while under the influence,” Robert Alberete said.
“I am opposed to it because of that lack of research,” Jacob Hollis said.
While others are excited about the possibility.
“I think it’ll be better because there’s a lot of other crimes that could really be focused on and there’s all these stories about people who are coming out of jail and, you know, having all their charges dropped for something like weed and if other places can do that then we should be able to do that same thing for people,” Jennifer Morin said.
Honestly, I think that would benefit us a lot. It would help out economically,” Jasper Zapata said.
“I think it’s going to be beneficial for people who will smoke it and probably help people around here,” Jazlyn Provencio said.
The bill will head to the House floor for the first time in the state’s history.