New Mexico Court Rules Governor’s Veto of Hemp Bills is Unconstitutional, Laws Can Take Effect

Justices on the New Mexico Supreme Court have upheld a lower court’s decision that strikes down Governor Susana Martinez’s veto of two industrial hemp bills.

Governor Martinez’s vetoes of House Bill 144 and Senate Bill 6 is unconstitutional, the justices ruled, meaning the two measures can officially become law. The proposals permit the Department of Agriculture to issue licenses for the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and development purposes in compliance with federal provisions (Section 7606) of the 2014 Farm Act.

Justices on the Court ruled the governor’s vetoes unconstitutional based on the fact that she failed to provide any written explanation for her vetoes, meaning that legislators had no guideline for revising the bills in a way that would lead to her signing the measures or allowing them to become law without a signature. Eight others measures that the governor vetoed, which are unrelated to hemp or cannabis, will also take effect due to a lack of explanation.

According to NORML, Governor Martinez has long been a staunch opponent of marijuana and hemp, and any efforts to liberalize the laws surrounding them; she is one of only four U.S. governors to receive an ‘F’ grade from NORML in their 2018 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

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