Following the veto of two hemp bills earlier this month by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, the state’s House of Representatives has passed yet another bill to legalize hemp research.
The House passed House Bill 530 yesterday with a 65 to 1 vote. The measure, sponsored by Minority Leader Nate Gentry (R), now moves to the Senate. It’s expected to be quickly approved, sending it to the desk of Governor Susana Martinez.
House Bill 530 is similar to two bills that Governor Martinez has already vetoed this month, but a few minor changes to the proposal’s language puts it more in line with a 2014 federal farm bill that legalized hemp research. Proponents of the measure hope that this change is enough to get Martinez to sign it into law, although this is an uncertainty given the governor gave no explanation for why she vetoed the previous bills.
“This is economic development for the state of New Mexico,” said Representative Bill Gomez (D) following the vote.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures at least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp for commercial purposes and 20 states have passed laws legalizing it for research purposes.