SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal unveiled Wednesday for legal marijuana sales throughout New Mexico would use taxes to subsidize medical pot purchases for low-income patients and set aside money for police and loans to cannabis startup companies.
A panel appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, published recommendations for legalization that take cues from other states that regulate recreational marijuana markets.
The proposal would prohibit local governments from banning marijuana sales, though they could apply restrictions on business hours and locations, said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, who led the governor’s task force on legalization.
The provision is aimed at curbing illicit markets and keeping marijuana shoppers from traveling long distances.
The recommendations will now go to the Legislature for consideration.
Davis said several elements would set New Mexico apart from other states, in part by protecting its medical marijuana program from a potential exodus of patients — an outcome that has been seen in several other states.
“We’re going to use some of the revenue from recreational marijuana to reinvest … so we don’t lose those patients,” he said.
Medical marijuana is currently taxed on average at 7% but would become tax-free under the legalization proposal.