New Mexico Lawmakers Vote Down Legalization Bill

Legislators in New Mexico had opportunity this week to advance a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. But by a tally of 9-1, New Mexico’s House Business and Industry Committee voted against the measure.

The bill was modeled after legalization legislation that passed in Oregon, in which 40 percent of marijuana sales taxes would go towards education, while other proceeds would benefit different government programs. Legalizing hemp and a reduction for medicinal cannabis were also parts of the defeated bill.

Had the bill gotten out of the state’s legislature, there was little doubt of a veto from New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. The Republican governor has repeatedly expressed her opposition to legal pot.

In voting against the bill, Committee Chairwoman Debbie Rodella, D-Española, said she considered cannabis a gateway to harder drugs. According to, she “talked to many young people in her district — an area that has been ravaged by heroin addiction — ‘and every one of them told me that marijuana had been a gateway for them.'”