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New Mexico Legislature considers legalizing marijuana

Democratic state lawmakers say the time is ripe for New Mexico to legalize and tax marijuana sales for recreational use as the state grapples with a budget deficit and plunging revenues.

Democratic Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque on Wednesday announced details of a forthcoming bill to legalize marijuana and tax sales by at least 15 percent to help shore up shaky state finances and reinvigorate the economy.

Local governments would choose whether to allow marijuana sales and could collect a 5 percent tax. Former district attorney and Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has consistently opposed legalizing marijuana or industrial hemp production.

Supporters of legalization also are pursuing a constitutional amendment that could go to a statewide vote in 2018 without the governor's say.

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