Legislators who want recreational cannabis in New Mexico have just a handful of days to get a bill to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk just before the legislative session ends March 16th. Even if it does not pass, the bill’s arrangement — which establishes a network of cannabis dispensaries owned and operated by the state — could serve as a national model for other states, for far better or worse.

It wasn’t constantly this way. When legislators in the state Property initial introduced a bill for recreational cannabis in January, state ownership wasn’t portion of the program. There had been restrictions on exactly where dispensaries could be positioned relative to schools and churches, and cities and counties could ban them outright, but it presumed a privately run business enterprise model. This is generally how industries have been set up in the nine other states have have legalized recreational sales. (Vermont legalized, but has not however established a industrial market place.)

Much less than a month later, the state Senate rolled out its version, which mandated the state operate all cannabis retail operations. Beneath this framework, the state would license private growers of cannabis and makers of cannabis goods. The state’s retail shops would then accept goods from makers on consignment for resale, which means makers would be paid back just after the goods had been sold. The key cause: Issues more than kids accessing legal weed.

The Property modified its bill to mirror the Senate’s version, and it passed a floor vote final week. Now the only issue standing in the way of a legal cannabis market with state-run industrial sales in New Mexico is the Senate, exactly where the bill is presently held up in a legislative committee.

The only issue standing in the way of legal cannabis in New Mexico is the state senate.

When it is in no way been performed for recreational cannabis, more than a dozen states have equivalent models for alcohol sales, which includes Utah and New Hampshire. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, a single of the sponsors of the senate bill, says his legislation was inspired by these examples. In his view, it is a extra successful suggests of regulating children’s exposure to cannabis marketing and goods.

“In the [alcohol markets] that are controlled,” Pirtle tells Rolling Stone, “producers and wholesalers place their item on [state-run] shelves, and it makes it possible for for far better oversight and regulation of item placement and retailer place.”

He points out that costs would nonetheless be set by private producers and manufactures. A particular person could even receive each a license to create and manufacture, which Pirtle foresees as making a “farm-to-table” style niche market place.

“We wanted to make certain lots of competitors so that persons could go into the business—the only issue we wanted to make certain was protection for kids and public security, and that is exactly where state-run shops came into play,” Pirtle says.

“We wanted to make certain lots of competitors,” says a state senator.

All through 2018, legislators met with healthcare dispensary owners and cannabis policy advocates in the state to draft a bill for this session. The pivot to state-run shops wasn’t a key portion of the discussion, but the House’s willingness to stick to the Senate’s lead might have had to do with the latter’s historic reluctance to endorse legalization measures.

“The cause I consider there is a lot of bipartisan assistance [for the state store model] is concern about a dispensary popping up on just about every corner,” says Emily Kaltenbach, the executive director of the state’s Drug Policy Alliance chapter, who lobbied for a legalization bill year final year.

A single caveat to the state model, Kaltenbach says, is that the bill really does include things like a provision for opening up private pot shops if there’s no state-run retailer inside 25 miles. The particular person operating the retailer would have to be licensed to develop or manufacture by each the healthcare cannabis plan, which was established in 2007, as effectively as the state’s adult use plan, which would be regulated by a diverse portion of the state government.

“The state will wake up and comprehend they have to use the current [medical dispensary] network,” says a single dispensary operator.

For Duke Rodriguez, whose dispensary Ultra Overall health operates 23 healthcare cannabis dispensaries in the state — by far the biggest network in New Mexico — this exception leaves sufficient wiggle area for healthcare dispensaries to push the state into scrapping the public retailer model. As a outcome, he’s supportive of the legislation, even even though he’s spent years pushing for established healthcare dispensaries to be initial in line for adult-use retail licenses.

“I consider in a relatively brief time frame, the lack of infrastructure, the lack of capital, the lack of execution, will prove itself speedily sufficient that the state will wake up and comprehend they have to use the current [medical dispensary] network as supplied by Ultra Overall health and other providers,” Rodriguez says. “The dream of legalization is significant, but I consider the information behind state owned shops is at this point unproven.”

Yet another owner, Zeke Shorts of the Sacred Garden dispensaries, extra or much less agreed with Rodriguez’ assessment.

“I consider it is ludicrous, but I’m not super freaked out like other producers, simply because I consider the state just will not be capable to get their proverbial shit with each other to have an actual higher class recreational model,” Shortes tells Rolling Stone.

As of now, says Pirtle, the bill is low in priority for the senate finance committee, which has to approve it just before sending to the Senate floor. That suggests the bill could possibly die in committee just before acquiring place up for a complete vote. If that takes place, the legislation will be shelved for at least a further year. New Mexico would then have to maintain waiting for recreational cannabis and the estimated $60 to $70 million in income it would bring in.