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Governor calls special legislative session in New Mexico

March 26, 2021 GMT
Democratic State Rep. Brian Egolf talks about recent legislative accomplishments in Santa Fe, N.M., at the close of a 60-day legislative session on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Democrat-led Legislature has charted an economic exit from the COVID-19 pandemic and checked off progressive priorities on policing reforms, abortion rights, medical aid in dying and child poverty. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
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Democratic State Rep. Brian Egolf talks about recent legislative accomplishments in Santa Fe, N.M., at the close of a 60-day legislative session on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Democrat-led Legislature has charted an economic exit from the COVID-19 pandemic and checked off progressive priorities on policing reforms, abortion rights, medical aid in dying and child poverty. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
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Democratic State Rep. Brian Egolf talks about recent legislative accomplishments in Santa Fe, N.M., at the close of a 60-day legislative session on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Democrat-led Legislature has charted an economic exit from the COVID-19 pandemic and checked off progressive priorities on policing reforms, abortion rights, medical aid in dying and child poverty. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling legislators back to the Capitol to consider proposals to legalize recreational marijuana.

Lujan Grisham set Tuesday as the start of the special legislative session.

Negotiations to legalize the sale and use of recreational cannabis for adults 21 and over collapsed in the final days of the regular annual legislative session that ended March 20.

Marijuana reforms have become a top political and policy priority for state Democrats after voters last year ousted several legalization opponents from the state Senate.

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The Democrat-led House has approved recreational marijuana legalization bills several times in recent years that emphasize support for communities hit hard by aggressive policing on drug laws.

House Republicans criticize the governor’s push for marijuana legislation as financially frivolous and disrespectful in the run-up to Good Friday and Easter celebrations in a heavily Roman Catholic state.

One legalization framework from GOP Sen. Cliff Pirtle highlights low tax rates on marijuana and and robust drug-safety precautions in the workplace and for roadways.

Lujan Grisham has promoted legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to create jobs and bolster long-term state government income that some say is too reliant on oil production. New Mexico has well over a billion dollars in financial reserves, not including $1.6 billion in new federal aid than can be spent through 2024.

The session also will address efforts reform and expand the state’s closing fund for businesses that expand or relocate in New Mexico.

State spending through the Local Economic Development Act currently helps businesses offset infrastructure related spending.

The governor and Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf want to channel gross receipts taxes on sales and business services toward major private sector construction projects to spur investment and employment in New Mexico.

Legislators stripped that provision from a successful bill this year that authorizes $200 million in state general fund spending on grants to small businesses that are not repaid.