Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Democratic NM gubernatorial candidates pondering legal cannabis


Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson lives in Taos. According to a poll conducted by Military Times had armed forces personnel been the only voters in the 2016 presidential election he would have won. He has said he buys cannabis in Trinidad, Colorado.

Under term-limited Republican Governor Susana Martinez New Mexico unemployment rates are the worst in the United States while enrollment in New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program has just gone over the 40,000 member threshold.
So, legalization initiatives have a clear Democratic benefit. Democratic-leaning voters, who otherwise might have stayed home, could turn out to vote on marijuana reform. Some may leave other parts of the ballot blank, but Democrats could see a meaningful benefit overall. In a race that is close, a few thousand votes here or there could force an incumbent Republican Senator to pack up his office or shift a state’s electoral votes from red to blue. [Brookings Institution]
Democrats Jeff Apodaca, Peter DeBenedittis, Joseph Cervantes and US Representative for New Mexico's First District, Michelle Lujan Grisham are expected to run in next year's primary to replace Martinez. They all laud the state's cannabis initiative.
Apodaca’s father, former governor Jerry Apodaca, was governor when New Mexico became the first state to legislate the medical use of cannabis in 1978 through Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act. But Apodaca says cannabis could be more than a driver of jobs: It could also be an area where New Mexico’s universities lead other states in research and development. “If they can create 34 different strains of green chiles, are you telling me we can’t lead the world, the country, in [cannabis] research from our university?” [Santa Fe Reporter]
The Santa Fe Reporter's Peter St. Cyr won a lawsuit that opened New Mexico's cannabis growers to journalism's watchdog spotlight saying the state's Department of Health was violating public records law by keeping producers’ names secret.

Revenues from therapeutic cannabis in the first quarter of 2017 reached $19 million, an 86 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016. Total receipts for 2017 are projected to exceed $83.5 million.

For the record, I do not support widespread growing of hemp: it is an invasive species and capable of overgrowing native grasses.

New Mexico's Democrat-dominated legislature is in special session to address the state's budget woes. Gov. Martinez could sign a cannabis bill if Democrats support capital punishment for Victoria Martens' killers.

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