Legalize, Regulate and Tax With Comprehensive Legislation

State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) is once again attempting to legalize the sale and use of marijuana in New Mexico and will once again introduce legislation in the upcoming 2018 New Mexico legislative session to put it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment for voter approval.

That means getting a majority of legislators to agree to a constitutional amendment to put it on the ballot for voter approval.

Senator Otiz y Pino needs a majority in both the Senate and the House to place the measure on the ballot for voters to decide.

For a number of years, Ortiz y Pino’s his efforts to place the issue on the ballot has failed.

Governor Suzana Martinez would not be involved and could not veto the legislation because it would be a constitutional amendment.

It is very disappointing when the New Mexico Legislature feels the need to seek constitutional amendments for voter approval for the sake of by passing Governor Martinez because of her “my way or the highway” philosophy.

In any representative form of government, people are elected to make the best decisions they can based on the facts and needs of their constituents.

During the 2017 Legislative Session, Ortiz y Pino’s resolution was tabled in committee when two Democrats expressed opposition.

The Democrats who opposed the legislation both argued they knew people with drug problems and the argument was made that pot is an “entry level drug” for harder drug abuse.

The same argument can be made that alcohol is also entry level drug and “prohibition” failed in this country years ago.

The truth is, our war on drugs has been a miserable failure in this country, especially when it comes to pot, and that is coming from someone who has prosecuted narcotics cases.

Legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana is the real message of State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque), and it is one that should be listened to by all.

I am not sure Senator Ortiz y Pino completely understood the implications of what he was saying when he said “Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t make it more available. It’s already available. Any high school kid worth their salt can find marijuana within a half-hour”.

That may be true if the kid has a dealer at school he can contact who will probably have more than just recreational pot for sale.

Keep under age kids out of the argument and the availability of drugs.

Senator Ortiz y Pino argues the goal is to legalize, regulate and control the pot more effectively and legalization would significantly boost the New Mexico economy.

If the Senator’s goal is truly to legalize, regulate and control the drug as he claims, then he should draft comprehensive legislation to do just that and get it approved by the legislature with simple majority votes.

State Senators and State Representatives need to voice their true position on the issue and not just pass it on to voters.

Get the candidates for Governor and those running for the legislature to take a stand.

In all likelihood, Governor Martinez, the former Dona Ana District Attorney, will veto the legislation

At this point in time no one should really care about what Governor Martinez has to say in that she will be leaving office in a year and we will have a new Governor and a new legislature on January 1, 2019.

Healthy debate on comprehensive legislation in the 2018 session could be a pre-cursory to drafting viable legislation and adopted the following year.

After a healthy debate, Martinez just may change her mind on legalization for the sake of having accomplished at least one thing during her eight (8) as Governor.

Governor Martinez should seriously consider how she will make a living after she leaves elective office.

Martinez could apply for a dispenser’s license and go into business with former Governor Gary Johnson and sell and market pot as “NM Governor’s Choice”.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.