For years, most New Mexico Republicans have steadfastly opposed proposals to legalize recreational marijuana use. But with an increasing number of states moving toward... Bipartisan backing for marijuana legalization in New Mexico

For years, most New Mexico Republicans have steadfastly opposed proposals to legalize recreational marijuana use.

But with an increasing number of states moving toward cannabis legalization, three Senate Republicans have teamed up with three Democratic colleagues on a bipartisan bill, filed Thursday, that would allow for the sale of marijuana through state-run stores.

“Marijuana is not coming – it’s here,” said Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, one of bill’s sponsors. “What is worrisome to us is if we don’t try to get ahead of it.”

Under the terms of Senate Bill 577, a state agency – called the Cannabis Control Commission – would be created to oversee marijuana production, sales and product standards.

Businesses would be allowed to maintain a drug-free workplace, and a 17 percent tax rate would be levied on retail marijuana sales.

The state, cities, and counties would all get a cut of that revenue, with some of it earmarked for training law enforcement officers on how to detect drugged driving. Other revenue would go toward substance abuse and mental health programs. [Read more at Albuquerque Journal]

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