As New Mexico passes the midpoint of this year's legislative session, the sheer number of bills and their paths through committees and votes can be overwhelming. Plus, it changes quickly and sometimes without much foreshadowing. We're here to help, and SFR's cannabis coverage this month took a deep dive on a broad legalization proposal. You can check the status of any bill at any time by searching the legislature's web page.

New Mexico News

Tax officials want to tap the brakes

The people who would be in charge of imposing a brand new taxation structure on marijuana under HB 365 told lawmakers last week that they need more time to get it ready. Instead of allowing legal sales to adults over 21 beginning in 2020, that means the state wouldn't make the change until 2021. Backers say they don't have an issue taking it slow. But they want to take it.

Meanwhile, SB 577 would levy a sky-high 17 percent tax on marijuana and establish state-run stores like the ones used for selling liquor Utah and New Hampshire. It's got bipartisan backing, too.

Governor announces hearing on qualifying conditions

The New Mexico Department of Health has published the date for the next meeting of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, and says the board is expected to review a petition for the previously rejected condition of opiate use disorder to be included as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. A notice issued on Feb. 18 says the advisory board will meet on Friday March 29 at 10 am in the Harold Runnels Building Auditorium (located on the first floor at 1190 S St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe).

Regional News

Growth and growing

The latest figures are in: The cannabis industry in Colorado has raked in more than $6 billion since it opened the recreational market  in 2014. New numbers indicate sales have upticked 3 percent since last year. In California, sales are not predicted to boom as quickly, according to a recent report from the governor.

And a bit of self-promotion

Among more than 150 categories, one of the fastest-growing in the Santa Fe Reporter's Best of Santa Fe annual reader's poll is the one on Best Cannabis Dispensary. Anyone with email can cast a vote in the nominations period that stays open until March 17. The six dispensaries with the most votes make it to the final ballot in May.

Around the Web

Big Canna 

How investment performances in two of Canada's big cannabis companies could inform future US investors is a topic of an analysis from Motley Fool. Both Aurora and Canopy expect higher margins later in 2019, and expect to expand the kinds of products they can sell later this year, including cannabis edibles and beverages. "Aurora and Canopy are also optimistic about the potential to enter the US market in the not-too-distant future," reads the analysis.

Making green less white 

Meanwhile in Portland, a writer at our sister paper highlights new efforts to support diversity in the industry. Two black-owned businesses there recently got $30,000 in grants—the first time tax revenue from cannabis sales in that community is heading back to the communities negatively impacted by racially biased cannabis criminalization.