POLITICS
01/21/2014 12:57 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

New Mexico Lawmaker Introduces Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

A New Mexico lawmaker has introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the southwestern state.

State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) on Thursday introduced SJR 10, which would amend the state constitution to allow New Mexico to regulate the production, sale and taxation of cannabis. It would also legalize possession and personal use for residents 21 years of age and older.

If the measure passes the state legislature, the issue would then go to the voters.

"If it gets on the ballot, I think we have a good chance,” Oritz y Pino said of the legislation prior to its introduction.

Earlier this month, Ortiz y Pino said his proposal was inspired by Colorado's Amendment 64, which went into effect this year. That measure, which legalized personal marijuana use and allowed for commercial cultivation of the drug, was approved by voters during the 2012 general election.

“We are going to go ahead and do it," he said. "I’m not sure we will have the support to pass it this year, I can’t imagine any Republicans voting for it, but it will be modeled on what Colorado has done."

A poll conducted last year by Research & Polling for the Drug Policy Alliance found that 52 percent of New Mexico voters are in favor of the state taxing and regulating legal marijuana. Meanwhile, national support for legal marijuana has grown, with a majority of Americans now favoring legalization.

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