A marijuana bill that has passed the House in New Mexico is now on its way to the Senate.
The cannabis bill, House Bill 2, had passed 38-32 on Wednesday and now moves on to be voted in the Senate.
The state’s Gov. Lujan Grisham tweeted, “In addition to creating jobs and economic opportunities across the state, cannabis legalization will reduce harmful impacts to marginalized communities and improve community safety.”
According to Brian Hummell, with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, House Bill 2, the Cannabis Regulation Act, would roll back the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act, which eliminates smoking in public places.
He said it could allow for someone to smoke marijuana in enclosed spaces, like in a coffee shop or hotel. The issue is with the language in the bill.
New Mexico lawmakers had addressed this “smoking loophole” in the House Cannabis bill on Day One of the special legislative session.
“Many of the same toxins found in tobacco smoke are found in secondhand marijuana smoke,” said Hummell.
“We believe that if you’re in an enclosed space anyone in that enclosed space including workers and patrons should be protected from the dangers of all types of secondhand smoke,” he added.
Hummel’s Group, and the American Heart Association, American Lung Association in New Mexico, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, and New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco sent a letter to the governor and lawmakers, raising those concerns.
“We did receive that letter and seeing that we have such broad public health initiatives with this bill we did not want to cause any additional problems,” remarked State Rep. Andrea Romero. “We’re in the midst of having an amendment prepared for the House Judiciary Committee to remedy exactly that smoking loophole that we do not want to contribute to any more problems that the Cancer Society did bring up.”
“This is exactly one of those amendments that is appropriate in making sure we have the best possible bill moving forward,” Romero said.