State senators are searching for common ground among advocates for marijuana legalization who say the industry would help New Mexico’s economic recovery from the pandemic. A Senate panel was scheduled Sunday to review a newly revised bill from Republican state Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell, who has advocated for a streamlined approach to taxation and regulation aimed at stamping out the illicit market for marijuana and providing easy entry for entrepreneurs. Successful legislation is likely to include social justice provisions from a House-approved bill from Democratic state Rep. Javier Martínez of Albuquerque that emphasizes aid to communities adversely affected by marijuana criminalization. The House-backed bill provides automated pardons and expungement of past marijuana possession charges and convictions. It also would set aside public funds in the future to underwrite vocation training for cannabis workers, education to prevent substance abuse, and an array of social services in communities battered by policing against illicit drugs. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has set cannabis legalization as a high priority this year as her administration looks for new sources of employment as an antidote to high rates of poverty.

The Washington Times Http, Washington Times – Politics, Breaking News, US and World News, 03/13/2021 19:00:00

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