by Salina Madrid
Marijuana could become legal across New Mexico in 2020 and Las Cruces City Council spent Monday hearing about the benefits from state and local leaders.
Pat Davis from the Governors Marijuana Legalization Workgroup told city councilors, that within the first year of the state legalizing cannabis, 11,000 jobs will be created throughout the state.
Josey Mills, a manager at Ultra Health Dispensary, agrees.
“If you go to Colorado right now, you would see a dispensary in every store and each of those dispensaries has five or six employees. That alone is creating jobs, so if it’s legalized down here, it’s going to be the same way,” Mills said.
A study done by the governors office shows that 73% of new mexicoNew Mexico voters would support marijuana legalization, 63% say it’s important to legalize and 40% of voting adults would purchase cannabis products.
“With having a medical program and recreational program, it’s really going to help separate people who really need time and consultation to talk about their medicine to those who just want to come in for relaxation or for the fun side of it,” Mills said.
Danielle Cardenas, who also works at Ultra Health dispensary, said she’s had a medical marijuana card for years.
“I have been diagnosed with PTSD from a previous abusive relationship and to be honest with you, if I wasn’t on medical cannabis, I’d probably be on a few psych medicines,” Cardenas said.
She said just the discussion about legalizing marijuana, is a step in the right direction.
“We’re really looking to expand the cannabis culture and to remove that stigma,” Cardenas said.
The Las Cruces Police Department presented to councilors where they stand with the legalization of marijuana.
* Legalization resulting in more use among police applicants.
* Change in current drug use disqualification.
* Smaller pool of applicants
* DARE program teaches that drugs are bad, including marijuana. It would be confusing for them to teach that it isn’t.
* There could be an increase in juvenile possession
Driving Under Intoxication:
* Marijuana can aggravate alcohol, could result in more DWIs.
* LCPD said Colorado has seen an increase in traffic crash deaths.
* LCPD said marijuana sells are mostly cash business, which could result in an increase in robbery and burglary
* LCPD said in Colorado, there has been an increase in crime since legalization
LCPD also said marijuana possession crimes are down 46% compared to other states.
Cardenas and Mills said they disagree and that legalizing marijuana doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
“It would help our citizens in our local area that don’t have access to seeing a doctor all the time. If they’re in pain, they could just come to a dispensary and get their medication right away,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas said marijuana has many benefits and can help maintain a variety of health conditions.
Some of those include, anxiety, cancer, autism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, kidney failure and more.
“I’ve heard a lot of people have been able to get away from opioids and alcoholism by replacing it with cannabis,” Cardenas said.
Mills said more money would be brought into the city, as well.
“If legalized, we’re going to have tons of money coming in, especially from Texas being so close and even a lot of tourists that come through this town,” Mills said.
City councilors had a lot of questions for people who presented on this topic.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima said he did not approve of the legalization.
Councilors did not know when this would be voted on but said it would be in the near future.
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