On Friday, Feb. 2, lawmakers in Santa Fe got closer to putting legalizing recreational cannabis on the ballot. Advocates say that could help with the state’s opioid overdose rate.
There’s evidence that legalizing recreational cannabis can help cut down on overdoses. Emily Kaltenbach with the Drug Policy Alliance says cannabis can basically be used as an exit drug.
“We as a state have been very traumatized by problematic drug use and alcohol use,” she said, “so we want to make sure we are doing the best to support our prevention and education efforts.”
Governor Susana Martinez has opposed legalizing recreational cannabis, but if lawmakers approve the measure, it would go before voters instead. Kaltenbach said it’s not a question of if, but when.
Twenty-nine other states have legalized cannabis in some form or fashion and state polling data shows New Mexicans are becoming more supportive of recreational cannabis.
KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the McCune Charitable Foundation.