By Steve Elliott
New Mexico state Senator Ortiz y Pino's Senate Memorial 80, requesting the state Economic Development Department to study the budgetary implications of taxing and regulating marijuana in the state, on Wednesday passed out of the Senate Rules Committee on a 6-1 bipartisan vote.
The memorial bill will next be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee before being heard by the entire Senate.
"Legislators on both sides of the asile want to know how taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico will improve our economic success as a state," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Many of the best ideas defy political labels."
"As marijuana reform becomes a mainstream position, political candidates and elected officials are finding it less and less of a political third rail," Kaltenbach said.
A new poll conducted by Research and Polling found a majority of New Mexico's registered voters -- 52 percent -- say they support legalizing marijuana for adults, taxing and regulating it in a way similar to alcohol. Forty percent were opposed.
A report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy released last year suggests the legalization of marijuana as an affirmative step to end failed drug policies that fuel a violent black market.