New Mexico’s future as a legal cannabis state is all but cemented with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a vocal supporter of legalization, acting as the final hurdle before pro-marijuana reform bills are passed into law. As New Mexico residents prepare for the introduction of an adult-use market, Texas law enforcement are preparing to uphold the Lone Star State’s strict pot ordinances.
How New Mexico’s Marijuana Legalization Bills Will Affect Texans
New Mexico’s Democrat-controlled Congress has passed a series of measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Once Gov. Grisham signs off on the bills, New Mexico will join California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado as legal cannabis extends its reach throughout the American Southwest.
The proposed bills would allow adults aged 21+ to possess up to two ounces (57 grams) of marijuana for personal use, in addition to permitting at-home cultivation. A regulated market would be established, with a 12-18% excise tax on cannabis sales funneling much-needed revenue into the state. However, Texans planning on taking advantage of the neighboring legal weed market might want to think twice before transporting marijuana across state lines.
“It’s still against the law here in Texas to possess marijuana,” said Shirley Hardee, public information officer for Ector County. “It shouldn’t affect us at all here at the Ector County Sheriff’s Office. We’re dealing with Texas law, where New Mexico has different laws.”
The “Texas law” Hardee refers to classifies possession of up to two ounces of cannabis as a class B misdemeanor, which could lead to six months in prison, a $2000 fine, and the loss of a driver’s license. But according to Ryan Urrutia, Commander of the Patrol Division at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, those penalties can grow larger depending on the criminals’ cannabis product of choice.
“Edibles or the vape cartridges that people are using now, those are actually a felony possession, so you can actually be charged with a felony if you’re caught in possession of THC in that form,” said Urrutia. Such restrictions would also be imposed on New Mexico residents caught with cannabis products in Texas. Officer Urrutia continued, “Even though you live in New Mexico once you bring it into Texas, any possession no matter what other state you live in or brought it from, it’s still illegal to possess.”
While cannabis laws remain strict in Texas on the state level, a few local municipalities have loosened restrictions. Dallas County has limited penalties on first-time possession offenses and Austin has effectively decriminalized possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.
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