We’re happy to top this month’s newsletter with some breaking news: New Mexico legislators this morning conducted their second major debate on cannabis legalization proposals, with members of the House Health and Human Services Committee spending most of the hearing hashing out the differences in two bills before sending House Bill 12 to the next committee.

Catch an archive of the hearing here, as well as the hours-long committee debate from Saturday, which featured public comment. SFR offered analysis of the proposal, including a breakdown of the major conflicts last week, and looked deeper at ideas about expungement of criminal convictions in the Jan. 27 print edition.

Don’t forget to nominate your favorites in the ongoing first round of the Best of Santa Fe reader poll, including the the Best CBD ShopBest Cannabis Dispensary and more!  Look for a new edition of Leaf Brief the third Monday of each month. Scroll down for more regional and national news, and thanks for reading!

From SFR

The legislative debate over legalizing cannabis kicks off Saturday

State senator wants past possession raps scrapped in broader legalization package through optimistic reading of case law

Regional News

Safety violations lead to state action

The New Mexico health department suspended New MexiCann Natural Medicine’s ability to manufacture cannabis-derived products after employees were injured and a fire broke out, reports Phaedra Haywood at The Santa Fe New Mexican. State officials are seeking to make that action permanent. A hearing planned in January on the matter did not occur and the department said it would be rescheduled.

In session

In addition to the massive legalization proposals on the table, lawmakers have proposed several other cannabis-related bills, including:

House Bill 88 - Backed by the state environment department, this bill seeks to patch some holes in state oversight of cannabis products by amending the Hemp Regulation Act. But opponents who are part of the agricultural hemp industry say it also has some problems, especially in the way it treats transportation.

Senate Bill 340 - The measure sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino addresses a fight over whether lawmakers intended reciprocity for medical cannabis patients from other states to be able to purchase cannabis in New Mexico.

For more news and analysis about cannabis at the Roundhouse, listen to the Feb. 11 edition of Let’s Talk New Mexico, which featured guests including Rep. Javier Martinez and Sen. Cliff Pirtle, as well as Ben Lewinger, head of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

From the retail scene

This fall, SFR visited the Lyden farm where hemp for High Grade Organic CBD products is grown. We heard co-owner Christopher Bassett’s plan to partner with a chocolate-maker he met during Peace Corps service. The acequia-fed farm has launched its new chocolate bar, made with its full-spectrum extract and dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic. Available online and at La Montañita Co-op, Grey Matter Float Spa and Red House in Santa Fe.

Around the Nation

Northern exposure

New Mexicans who are wondering if the state should legislate diversity and social justice now might look to The New York Times’ examination of two years after cannabis legalization in Canada, where the government has not figured out how to keep promises to address amnesty, illicit sales and Indigenous inclusion.

Growing into it

Likewise, the question of whether New Mexicans should be permitted to grow cannabis at home outside of the Medical Cannabis Program is one that’s being considered in other states as well. The Seattle Times tracks a bill in the Washington Legislature that would allow homegrown cannabis. The state was one of the nation’s first to permit adult use, but it has not continued as a pioneer on the home front.