A bill to legalize hemp research, which easily passed the New Mexico Legislature, was vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez (R).
The governor gave no explanation to why she vetoed the measure, simply stating that she’s using her constitutional power to do so.
“With the stroke of her pen, the governor just killed countless jobs and new economic opportunities in New Mexico,” said Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D), a cosponsor of the measure, following the veto. “The hemp industry has been a booming success in at least thirty other states. This common sense job-creating legislation would have been a giant step forward for New Mexico’s farmers and entrepreneurs.”
According to Representative Bill Gomez (D), another supporter of the bill; “Our farmers and agriculture sector have the most to lose by the governor’s veto because hemp is a low-cost, low-effort crop that offers high rewards.” According to Gomez, industrial hemp uses half as much water to grow as wheat.
Last year Martinez vetoed a bill that would have put the state on track to establishing a commercial hemp market. At the time the governor stated her veto was because hemp’s similarity to cannabis could complicate police investigations. This year lawmakers proposed a much more conservative measure that would have simply allowed for hemp research, in line with a federal hemp law approved in 2014. Obviously this time Martinez couldn’t come up with a reasonably excuse for her veto, so she simply didn’t.
Hemp advocates are holding out hope for a similar measure, Senate Bill 6, which recently passed the House. However, Martinez may very well veto that measure as well.