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Weed The People | New Mexico Cannabis Legalization

We as Americans were given The Constitution of the United States of America to protect our rights and give us freedom. It even starts off “weed the people”... or maybe it’s “we the people.” Either way, as more states change their laws and allow the cultivation and consumption of cannabis, the Federal Government is still sitting with their thumbs up their ass.

Do you remember the first time you smoked some herb? I definitely remember my first time. It was still illegal. We used a soda can with the paint scraped off and some small knife slits stabbed into the can. Well, fast forward but not too far forward. While most of us were still taking hot knife hits or bath tub gravity rips, California was working on its Medical Cannabis laws and reform. That’s right, while the Feds were still fighting “The War On Drugs” and imprisoning tons of people over cannabis, California was changing laws. In 1996 California started their medical cannabis program. They were soon followed by Alaska and Nevada in 1998. But hold on, maybe we fast forwarded too much. Was California really the first state? Was it seriously the late nineties before cannabis laws started changing?

Well, let me tell you something, California wasn’t the first. The first state to do a medical cannabis program was actually 20 years ahead of California. In 1978, New Mexico passed the Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act. This Act was passed by state legislation and backed by the Food and Drug Administration. The change in laws was encouraged and pushed forward because of a cancer patient (Lynn Pierson). The new laws were changed and accepted in New Mexico, February 1978 but the Feds still needed to approve it. So it wasn’t until November of 1978 that it was fully allowed and the cannabis was provided by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Unfortunately November was a little too late for Lynn Pierson. Shortly after it was allowed for medical use, Lynn passed away, but not without a fight that helped over 250 people between the years of 1978 and 1986. Before the program ended it was renamed in memory of Lynn “The Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program”. It wouldn’t be until 13 years later that it would come back up in the New Mexico Government.

In 1999, 13 years after The Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program ended, the then New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson stirred the Pot and upset a lot of local officials when he proposed legalization of cannabis, stating the dangers had been over exaggerated for way too long. Other government officials and law enforcement leaders did not like this at all. One in particular being Darren White, a long time Sheriff’s Officer then finishing his career as the Sheriff of Bernalillo County New Mexico, but I’ll come back to good ole Darren in a bit. The push back and hassle didn’t stop Gary Johnson. Even the Drug Czar himself came to Albuquerque NM to publicly denounce the Governor’s statements. Calling them “embarrassing” and “astonishing”. Gary Johnson finished out his second term still pushing for cannabis laws to be changed. Unfortunately that wouldn’t happen again in New Mexico until 2007 when Governor Bill Richardson and NM lawmakers passed the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Act. This made Medical Cannabis legal and available again in the state. In the later years they would begin to allow personal cultivation, which passed with a 32 to 3 vote. This made New Mexico the 12th state to allow Medical Cannabis and the 4th to do it by State Legislation. But remember New Mexico was truly the first back in 1978-1986.

With Medical Cannabis legal (again) in New Mexico, we would start to see Medical dispensaries popping up all over the state. The vast majority of them were owned by just a few people. People like Darren White. Yes that’s right (well so wrong in my opinion) but yes the ex-Sheriff who had locked up people for cannabis, the same ex-Sheriff who fought tooth and nail against cannabis in 1999 was now the proud owner of a dispensary in New Mexico. SMH… Weed the People took a stand and spoke out against this but with his political ties and connections he continued to grow and expand while the true cannabis advocates could only boycott his place. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much to his dispensary. Too many people didn’t know or didn’t care that he used to be a cop and had individuals still locked up for what he was now legally selling and widely profiting from.

Now let’s catch up to the more current times. It was March of 2019. House Bill 356 was passed, but barely. It passed with a vote of 36-34. This Bill had issues so it was brought back and redone. Later in the year, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham would sign off on Bill 323. That bill would decriminalize small amounts and provide the NM residents with a little ease as they continued to figure out the how and when. Before they would allow recreational cannabis our Governor had to play the political game of chess for her personal gain, but finally in April of 2021, House Bill 2 was signed in with a vote of 38-32 making recreational cannabis legal for the first time in New Mexico. Retail sales were still on hold though. It wasn’t until April 1st of 2022 that recreational shops could open their doors and sell to 21 years and up with a valid I.D. Oh and as for Darren White he sold out and cashed in while there are some still currently serving time incarcerated because of his arrests. Well, he wasn’t the only one who cashed in, the state sold 6.1 million dollars in recreational cannabis during the first weekend. With Medical and recreational it was a combined total of 10 million dollars in sales.

Weed the People have been on a journey. We’ve been on a Rollercoaster of wrong and right, but as long as we fight for what is right “We The People” will come out ahead and with the win. Now let’s Keep America High. Legalization is definitely NMBeardedMan Approved.



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