January 26, 2015

Marijuana bill committee assignments show likely failure

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MarijuanaA bill that would allow legalization of marijuana was assigned to five committees on Monday, a fate that ensures it will likely never make to the House floor for a vote.

For legislation to make it to the floor of the Senate or House, the bill must first go through the committee process. Any more than two committee assignments usually signals a rough road towards passage for a bill.

Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, introduced a bill earlier this month that would allow the legalization of recreational marijuana use. His HB 160 was assigned to five committees, more than double the amount most bills get.

McCamley told New Mexico Political Report the high number of assignments is “not unexpected.”

“I think there’s an agenda and certain people don’t want this on the agenda,” McCamley said. McCamley remains hopeful, though. He previously told New Mexico Political Report that he knows this won’t be a popular bill, but he wants to start the conversation now. He chalks it up to other lawmakers simply not being used to this type of bill.

“This hasn’t been introduced in this sort of form before,” McCamley said, referring to other attempts to put legalization to voters.

In order for the bill to make it to the House floor for a vote, it has to pass the Agriculture Water Resources and Wildlife, Regulatory and Public Affairs, Ways and Means, Health and Appropriations and Finance committees. If the bill fails to pass any one of the committees, it will most certainly never make it to the floor.

McCamley said he hopes it gets a fair chance in committee.

“Hopefully people take it seriously,” McCamley said. “That’s my only request”

Gov. Susana Martinez has said in the past that she opposes any legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in New Mexico.