New Mexico lawmakers are contemplating following within the footsteps of their neighboring states, Colorado and Arizona. On Feb. 2, New Mexico legislators launched House Bill 12 and Senate Bill 13, each of which element their plans for legalizing leisure marijuana. The push for leisure marijuana in our state has been rising lately, with Democratic Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (Senate Bill 13), claiming that, “I think people want us to [legalize it] in pretty high numbers.”
Although there are numerous obstacles the invoice should overcome to be handed, the legalization of marijuana is a particular chance within the close to future for New Mexico residents.
Marijuana legalization is a comparatively new subject, with many unknown variables nonetheless being sorted out. Amongst these issues is making an attempt to piece collectively the impression leisure marijuana might have on communities are the members of the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition of Doña Ana County. From day one, this coalition has been constructing neighborhood efforts to scale back and stop youth drug and alcohol misuse.
UP! Coalition Chair Dr. Edward Rubin said, “The science about the use of marijuana also needs to be considered. Research shows us that exposure to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, delays maturation of the part of the brain involved in making choices and weighing alternatives in those under the age of 25. This disruption in young people continues into adulthood.”
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and state legislators’ motivation for the legalization of leisure marijuana can also be comprehensible. New Mexico lawmakers have identified that they intend to impose a 21% tax on marijuana purchases. This will assist the diversification of state revenue, assist improve job alternatives for New Mexicans and cut back courtroom and incarceration prices. According to the 2019 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, one in 4 Doña Ana County highschool college students self-reported utilizing marijuana. It could be sensible for the legislators to contemplate devoting a part of the anticipated revenue to enhanced prevention and therapy applications, particularly for youth.
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Research has additionally discovered that marijuana is the illicit drug most incessantly discovered within the blood of drivers concerned in car crashes, together with alcohol. Immediate impairment from marijuana is tough to detect, resulting from its sluggish price of elimination from the physique. As a end result, marijuana can nonetheless be detected days or even weeks after use. Therefore, an necessary consideration for our legislators and regulation enforcement companions to take is the event of screening know-how for marijuana, such because the breathalyzer, to maintain our roadways secure from drivers below the affect.
Another necessary difficulty to significantly contemplate is the places of the leisure marijuana retailers. New Mexico’s public well being institute, the Center for Health Innovation, has illustrated in learning retailers for alcohol in Doña Ana County, the density of retail outlet places is correlated with extra use and higher depth of consuming. This similar final result has been discovered concerning marijuana retailers, in response to a current Rand Corporation research. It is necessary for the general public well being of communities that there be a low outlet density as a method to mitigate potential public well being harms.
The coalition additionally urges the consideration of warning labels, as has been finished with each alcohol and tobacco merchandise. Recreational marijuana can be accessible to the general public not solely to smoke, however within the type of edibles — like meals, drinks or sweet. According to the Annals of Emergency Medicine, a major improve in baby emergency room visits have been resulting from unintentional marijuana poisoning, and this regarding development occurred in Denver after its state legalized leisure marijuana. Edibles are simply mistaken for normal sweet, so the UP! Coalition recommends that our state Legislature considers warning labels on all leisure marijuana merchandise.
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Rubin stated that the labels, “should include warnings to keep this product out-of-reach of children [and] to not combine this product with other drugs, and information about the concentration of the product, similar to how alcohol content is listed on the labels of alcoholic beverages sold.”
Finally, the Up! Coalition hopes that the Legislature, throughout their cautious and regarded deliberations, takes our suggestions to coronary heart as they contemplate not solely the fiscal implications for legalizing marijuana, however the severe potential public well being implications.
This information launch is made accessible by the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.
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