By Anthony Martinelli

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been passed by a key House committee in New Mexico.

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed House Bill 356 by a vote of 5 to 2, with all of the “Yes” votes coming from Democrats.

“Prohibition simply does not work, and the country is coming to the realization of that”, said Representative Antonio Maestas, one of the bill’s sponsors.

The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess and grow personal amounts of marijuana. They would be authorized to purchase the plant from a licensed retail outlet.

The proposal would establish a 19% tax on recreational marijuana sales. The tax revenue would be split between law enforcement, health and research programs, and city and county governments. The measure would also allow for the expungement of past charges that would become legal if it’s passed.

The proposal must now be passed by the full House of Represents and then Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration. Govewrnor Grisham has said she would support a legalization law under certain conditions, such as having strong safeguards to prevent children from obtaining cannabis.

For the full text of House Bill 356, click here.

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