Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, is examining options relating to decriminalization of marijuana in New Mexico — perhaps going even further than just decriminalization and following the lead of Colorado and Washington and legalizing marijuana.
Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on the efforts.
Decriminalization seems like it would be a tough road to navigate in this year’s legislative session. A proposal to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use did not receive the blessing of the interim Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee. This does not mean that the bill cannot be introduced, but it does show that there is not tremendous support for such a proposal
In order to legalize marijuana, Ortiz y Pino says he would explore a constitutional amendment — similar to what happened in Colorado and Washington.
If a proposed constitutional amendment passes both chambers of the Legislature, it would be put on the next general election ballot — 2014 — to let the voters decide.
Call it a “reeferendum.” And as long as we’re getting silly here, I have to point out that in the Legislature, constitutional amendments are introduced as joint resolutions. (Get it? Get it? OK, enough of that.)
New Mexico does not have a history of referendums for new laws; in 2009, then-Governor Bill Richardson said as much to then-Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White when it came to repealing the death penalty.
“We don’t do legislation in New Mexico by referendum,” Richardson, a Democrat, said during a mid-day news conference at the Capitol today. “The New Mexico public wants us to repeal the death penalty.”
A similar statement could come from Martinez on any such
Photo via dannybirchall/Flickr