New Mexico Senate’s new Democrats make difference in cannabis bill

SANTA FE  In a way, it was only fitting a hotly debated New Mexico cannabis legalization bill passed the Senate by a seven-vote margin Wednesday evening.

After all, the Senate’s seven first-term Democratic members played a key role in getting the bill across the finish line during a legislative special session — after previous marijuana legalization bills had stalled in recent years.

“It was all about the election,” Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D- Albuquerque, said Thursday, referring to last year’s election results that saw five incumbent Senate Democrats ousted by more progressive primary challengers.

“The freshmen really carried the day,” she added, saying the first-term senators were among a group of lawmakers that met on the fourth floor of the Capitol with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to celebrate approval of the cannabis bill after the two-day special session ended late Wednesday.

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