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New Mexico Governor’s Campaign Asks For Marijuana Feedback From Supporters

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The governor of New Mexico is highlighting her work to advance marijuana legalization and is soliciting feedback on the issue from supporters as part of a reelection campaign fundraising effort.

In an email blast on Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) discussed how she established a working group to get public input on the reform move and urged the legislature to enact legalization.

While lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement by the end of session this year, she said “the economic impact would have created thousands of new jobs and sustainable state revenue sources to invest in New Mexico’s future.” She made a similar point in May, stating that taxing and regulating cannabis could help offset economic losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I didn’t make this decision lightly. I’ve listened to deep concerns for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the inequitable effects of minor marijuana convictions along with an undeniable call for increased public safety, especially for New Mexico children,” the governor wrote in the new email. “But one thing has become clear through all these efforts: Legalizing cannabis would be a net benefit to New Mexico and transform the lives of so many people in this state.”

“That’s why I’m turning to you—because I’m always looking to the future to see what new and innovative policy idea New Mexico should pursue to help transform our state. I’m meeting my team tomorrow to chat through some big ideas, but I need your input before then, so please, let me know.”

The email, which was first reported by The Santa Fe New Mexican, links to a survey with four questions for respondents. It notes that legalization could offset costs for medical cannabis patients and asks supporters whether they feel it’s “important to protect and expand access to medical cannabis.”

The governor’s campaign also discussed public safety considerations for a legal marijuana model, stating that she’s committed to “shutting down illegal markets and keeping recreational cannabis out of the hands of children.”

“How important is it to you that New Mexico protect public safety as it pursues legalized cannabis?” it asks, with options ranging from “extremely important” to “not important at all.”

The survey also requests input on the importance of stimulating local economies through legalization and promoting “forward-thinking” policies like cannabis reform.

At the end of the survey, Lujan Grisham says the “COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the need for strong Democratic leadership in our nation—including right here in New Mexico.”

“That’s why it’s so urgent that we elect strong Democrats up and down the ballot who will roll up their sleeves and get right to work for New Mexico’s families—and take up cannabis legalization,” it states. “But Donald Trump has made New Mexico a top target, and I need your help to fight back.”

After people complete the questionnaire they are then prompted to donate to the Lujan Grisham’s campaign committee.

A bill to legalize cannabis did advance through one Senate committee in January, but it was rejected by another with just days left in the legislative session. Lujan Grisham said that when lawmakers reconvene in 2021,  it’s possible the legislature will pursue the reform move through a constitutional amendment that would be referred to voters at the ballot box.

The prospects of passing legalization in New Mexico were strengthened after the June primary, which saw the ouster of several key senators who have helped to block reform legislation.

Read the full email on marijuana legalization from the governor’s reelection campaign below: 

“Friends –

Last year, after listening to thousands of New Mexicans, I convened a bipartisan working group to study recreational cannabis legalization, examine the effects of legalized cannabis in other states and make recommendations about whether or not New Mexico should pursue legalization.

As Governor, I look for any chance to make transformative investments to build a better New Mexico – including infrastructure, education, tourism, and most of all, the economy.

After seeing New Mexico’s medical cannabis program change the lives of so many patients, I knew it was important to protect medical cannabis access to ensure patients get their medicine while we pursue new opportunities to help communities create robust local economies.

That’s why I put cannabis legalization on the State Legislature’s agenda this year. Unfortunately, the Legislature couldn’t come to an agreement, even though the economic impact would have created thousands of new jobs and sustainable state revenue sources to invest in New Mexico’s future.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. I’ve listened to deep concerns for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the inequitable effects of minor marijuana convictions along with an undeniable call for increased public safety, especially for New Mexico children.

But one thing has become clear through all these efforts: Legalizing cannabis would be a net benefit to New Mexico and transform the lives of so many people in this state.

That’s why I’m turning to you – because I’m always looking to the future to see what new and innovative policy idea New Mexico should pursue to help transform our state. I’m meeting my team tomorrow to chat through some big ideas, but I need your input before then, so please, let me know:

Should New Mexico legalize cannabis?

YES NO

We can create a huge economic opportunity for New Mexico communities – but I want to make sure we get this right, which is why I’m turning to you for advice.

I know how important it is to keep cannabis away from children, commit to shutting down illegal markets, expand economic opportunity for everyone and protect medical cannabis in New Mexico.

Thanks for fighting with me to build a better New Mexico, friends.

Michelle Lujan Grisham”

New Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Sales Filed In D.C.

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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