Democratic Party of New Mexico has adopted a platform that actively supports the legalization of cannabis in the Southwestern state. The new policy builds on the party’s 2014 platform, which only went so far as calling for the decriminalization of marijuana in New Mexico.
Two of the three Democrats running for governor are supporting the new platform.
U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham says that while she is concerned about impaired driving and children’s safety, she is supportive of marijuana legalization overall. "I am committed to working with the Legislature to move towards legalizing recreational cannabis in a way that improves public safety, boosts state revenues and allows for New Mexico businesses to grow into this new market," Grisham recently told the Albuquerque Journal.
However, supporting legalization and actually repealing prohibition are two different things. That's why Jeff Apodaca - a former media exec from Albuquerque - has pledged to push lawmakers toward making marijuana reform a reality.
"New Mexico has suffered from foot dragging for too long," Apodaca said. "We need big ideas if we want to stop being last in everything. I'm proposing major change to leave behind old cannabis laws and legalize it to create new jobs and industries."
The new platform is not binding though, and some Democrats continue to oppose the legalization of cannabis. State Senator Clemente Sanchez believes that legalizing cannabis would exacerbate New Mexico’s addiction problems. Meanwhile, Democrats like Senator Joseph Cervantes are falling back to the old platform and advocating decriminalization, not legalization. "The states which have just legalized marijuana don't have New Mexico's drug, DWI and crime problems, and as governor these have to be among my first priorities," Cervantes said in a statement.
However, with over 90 percent of party delegates voting in favour of changing the platform, it seems the bulk of the Democratic part is on-board with legalizing marijuana. State Representative Bill McCamley, who is running for state auditor said, "I'm really glad the Democratic Party has decided to push for this as an organization. This is going to happen. There's not one single thing we could do as a state to create more jobs than legalizing cannabis."
But first they'll have to contend with strong opposition from across the aisle. Both the current Republican governor, Susana Martinez, and the sole Republican running for governor, Steve Pearce, oppose legalizing cannabis. So New Mexico might have to turn blue before going green.