The House Commerce and Economic Development approved a bill that would allow for special licenses to grow, buy, sell or manufacture cannabis for approved research facilities Friday by a 6-3 vote. HB 334, sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque, would allow licensed research facilities to grow and transport cannabis and establish a Cannabis Control Division to regulate licensing. The state’s Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) would oversee the Cannabis Control Division.
Martínez fielded questions from both Democratic and Republican committee members, but all of the criticisms came from Republicans. Some of those concerns were whether RLD is the best home for the Cannabis Control Department.
Martínez and his expert witnesses explained to the committee that under current federal law, research facilities can get approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency to grow cannabis, but those researchers must get their plants from the federal agency. If passed, HB 334 would allow New Mexico to issue special research licenses and researchers could grow their own cannabis or buy from another approved facility.
Rep. Kelly Fajardo, R-Los Lunas, said she didn’t think regulating cannabis is necessarily in the department’s purview.