A proposal to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana through state-run stores in New Mexico is advancing in the state Legislature.
A Senate panel on Saturday endorsed the House-approved bill that would allow possession of up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for recreational use by people 21 and over, while applying taxes of up to 17 percent on sales.
Bill supporters include advocacy groups for criminal justice reform including defense attorneys and the ACLU. Businesses associations and medical marijuana businesses are worried about state involvement in sales and a potential plunge in marijuana prices.
Bipartisan sponsors say their bill establishes a tightly regulated marijuana market that guards against childhood use, helps identify impaired drivers and allows employers to maintain zero-tolerance policies and drug testing of employees.