Hosts Andy Lyman (New Mexico Political Report) and Megan Kamerick (NMPBS & KUNM) discuss the cannabis legalization efforts during the current 60-day legislative session. The pair starts off the episode by updating us with what’s new in the current proposals with Santa Fe Reporter Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm, followed by a deep dive into the legislation with Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance.
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Andy Lyman: Welcome back to another episode of Growing Forward. This is a collaboration between New Mexico Political Report and New Mexico PBS. I’m Andy Lyman with New Mexico Political Report and of course joining me is my co-host.
Megan Kamerick: I’m Megan Kamerick, a New Mexico PBS Correspondent and on-air host with KUNM and today we’re talking with Julie Ann Grimm. She’s editor and publisher of the Santa Fe Reporter, about what kinds of things she’s seeing this year as legislation moves forward. We’ll also hear from Emily Kaltenbach, with the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico about some of the specifics in the one bill that seems to be making the most progress towards the governor’s desk. First, welcome Julie Ann, thanks for joining us today.
Julie Ann Grimm: Hi! Thanks for having me.
Megan Kamerick: I’ve often noted here that Andy has been covering medical cannabis and legalization for a while, but so has the Santa Fe Reporter. What kind of differences or similarities are you noticing this year, compared to previous attempts at legalizing cannabis?
Julie Ann Grimm: I mean, this is the time in the session where you always wish that you could be a better forecaster than you can really be, because there is a bit of déjà vu, you know. You get towards the end of the session and things are looking pretty good in the House, but it’s sort of anyone’s guess in the Senate. It’s exactly where we were last year around this time. We had the shorter session, but of course the House approved a cannabis legalization measure, which then moved over to the Senate and did not make it to a Senate Floor vote. It died in the Senate Judiciary Committee. So, this year, I’m just, today as we’re recording this, it’s Wednesday around lunchtime and we’ve just had a vote from the House Taxation and Revenue Committee to move the measure to the House Floor, House Bill 12. And, we’ve also heard that there might be Senate hearings scheduled for the first time on similar proposals on Saturday, although that’s not published yet. And so, you know, that’s kind of where we are. We’re in the “anyone’s guess” period.
Megan Kamerick: Does it have to go to another House Committee?
Julie Ann Grimm: I don’t believe so. Andy, do you know about that?
Andy Lyman: Yeah, no… House Bill 12 should go to the House Floor next. Of course, there’s sort of a, like a buffer period, where I think it has to be on the calendar for 24 hours. I forget all the specifics, but I guess it could be as soon as this weekend or early next week.
Julie Ann Grimm: Yeah, there’s… there are some official proceedings that the Speaker has to undertake, in like receiving the Committee report, but knowing that this, you know, is likely to pass the House and that this is on the Governor’s, kind of, list of priorities, I think it’s likely that you would see that land on the House Floor Agenda for a vote, you know, in the not too distant future.
Megan Kamerick: There’s been changes in leadership in the legislature in the last year. Does that affect any of this, if and when it goes to the Senate? (laughs)
Julie Ann Grimm: Yes and no. You know, one of the big committees, of course, is the Senate Finance Committee. This was previously chaired for, you know, ever since I can remember, by John Arthur Smith, who, you know, of course was not re-elected, is not serving in the legislature now. But, the person who replaced him, Senator George Munoz, he’s, sort of, cut from the same cloth in many respects, in that, he’s a rather conservative democrat. He has not favored cannabis legalization in the past and so, you know, sort of what happens at that committee is also one of those “anyone’s guess.” However, you know, overall, the more conservative members of the democratic senate caucus have moved out, have been replaced and there are more progressive members now in greater numbers. And so, kind of the, like… the going political theory is that those hurdles are not in place the way they were in previous years. But, I really don’t know that that’s going to bear out as you look at some of the details that the senators are going to be fighting about, you know, especially with respect to taxation and expungement, I think.
Andy Lyman: One of the things, I think, worth pointing out in this, is that, at least on the Senate side, we don’t know where the House bills or House bill, when it gets to the Senate, how it’ll be assigned, but at least, I believe two of the three Senate bills that started there, just didn’t get assigned to Finance at all. They did get assigned to Senate Judiciary, which is chaired by Joe Cervantes, Joseph Cervantes, Senator Joe Cervantes, who has, you know, been outspoken against legalization. He’s, he obviously was the one to push decriminalization, but, you know, Julie Ann, going to that point… I think last year Senator Cervantes kind of brought up some of these concerns of his and sort of anxiety of legalizing and he invoked the name of El Chapo when he talked about, you know, giving a sort of a pass to folks with criminal history to get into this. What sort of things did you hear today, Wednesday, as the House Committee was meeting, sort of the same anxieties from, I guess, it was all republicans, right?
Julie Ann Grimm: Yeah, most of the committee members who asked questions, I think all of them today who asked questions were republican members, but their questions sort of danced around the expungement issue. They invoked the name of law enforcement quite a bit, you know, which happens… a lot of folks want to talk about Colorado and experiences that they’ve heard from legislators or law enforcement or other folks in Colorado. That came up a lot. The question of impairment and how police in New Mexico get to deal with drivers who are under the influence of cannabis, that came up. And, I think it’s important to note that this bill doesn’t alter the impairment standard by which police can consider, you know, your activities. It also allows your employer to discern whether you’re impaired or not and to appropriately, you know, punish you or prevent you from doing your work. And so, those are kind of some of the issues that have been contemplated already. The other law enforcement issue that did come up in the meeting today had to do with the opt-in provision and this is a little bit of a surprise to me that in previous incarnations of this bill, similar to the early Colorado legislation, counties and cities could opt out of the proposed legalization in New Mexico and that provision is no longer in the bill that’s moving through the House, House Bill 12. And the sponsor, Javier Martinez, said today the reason was because of law enforcement opposition, that it’s sort of a nightmare for police to have, like one county being legal and the next county over not and so, you know, while that makes sense, I wasn’t sure I was expecting that explanation.
Andy Lyman: And yeah, I think the other issue, too, and we’ll hear from Emily later on this, I think, is that there’s a tax issue too with the opt out thing, right? So, the idea of these taxes is that you’re also giving tax money or tax revenue back to those communities and if you have opted out of that it’s like, how do we give that money? Where do we give the money to? Julie Ann, did you happen to watch the House and Human Services Committee, I guess a couple weeks ago, chaired by Representative Deborah Armstrong?
Julie Ann Grimm: Yeah, there were two days of hearings. I caught one of them.
Andy: Did you notice any difference in some of the, sort of, anxiety. I personally seemed to notice that some of the questions in the tax committee was, they were more focused on actual issues in the bill whereas the previous committee seemed to be more of almost unpreparedness from some of the people that asked questions. You know, asking about, you know, what happens if you’re impaired and you want to own a gun or all those things and it seemed like this was a little bit more focused. But, what are your thoughts?
Julie Ann Grimm: Oh yeah, the conversation from the republicans asking questions at the Health and Human Services Committee, it was very long and drawn out. There were some members who asked a lot of questions and covered ground that has been, like, gone over and over again. I think there was some conflict about, you know, which statistics people were citing and using and really, it’s people who know they’re gonna vote no who are, you know, wanting to elaborate on their points and really sometimes not discussing what’s in the bill. I think the other challenge that you had at the Health and Human Services Committee is that the sponsor of House Bill 12 gave these really long rambling answers to almost every question she was asked by an opposing Representative. That was Tara Lujan, who was taking that… she’s a freshman legislator. So, I think that kind of led to the chaotic feeling of the previous committee and you had to, you know, a little bit more definition and experience in the legislators who were debating today.
Andy Lyman: Yeah and like you mentioned, House Bill 17, I think, was, it was tabled. So, it’s not completely dead, but it’s kind of effectively just not going anywhere.
Julie Ann Grimm: Yeah and I think also that committee, that first committee was dealing with House Bill 12 and House Bill 17 at the same time and so trying to parse out what the differences were between these two really giant pieces of legislation, that was a challenge that was going to take a long time. Today’s hearing was just about House Bill 12.
Megan Kamerick: Why do you guys think House Bill 12 got the traction the other bills did not? Or the other bill did not?
Julie Ann Grimm: 12 just included a lot more from stakeholders, you know. There were more people whose desires are represented in that legislation, House Bill 12, 17, I’m sorry, was presented more as a slimmed down version and so some of the things that backers think are really important weren’t in there, like the social justice provisions, which by the way got written out today.
Megan Kamerick: Oh really, I didn’t know that. I couldn’t hear that. I couldn’t listen to the whole hearing because, I had another…
Julie Ann: Right? That’s maybe an important comment.
Megan Kamerick: What got written out? (Laughs)
Julie Ann Grimm: The appropriations piece of it got written out. So, today was the House Taxation Committee and so they dropped the excise tax proposal from nine percent to eight percent. That was a big one. And they also got rid of what are called earmarks in the legislative process, which says we want you to spend a specific amount of this tax revenue towards this specific goal. Instead it’s going to leave those decisions to a future measure. It creates, stil,l the two funds you know for social justice that are intended to help low-income medical cannabis patients as well as addressing some of the wrongs of the drug war and helping people establish micro-businesses. Those two funds are still going to be established by the Act, but they don’t have any money directed into them.
Megan Kamerick: I see.
Andy Lyman: Yeah and I think the sponsor, Representative Martinez, sort of said it was hard, it was hard to tell whether it was sort of to answer to some criticism, but essentially his answer today was we don’t have any revenue to project yet. And so, until we get those money, that money going into these funds, we can’t really say. So, yes, it was sort of, as a phrase that’s overused, a lot is kicking the can down the road, right? Next year we’ll go through appropriations and figure out where to…. So, the provision is still there to say we want to give money to those causes. We just don’t have a dollar amount or even a percentage amount to speak about.
Megan Kamerick: But they kept the things like expungement and those issues?
Andy Lyman: Yes, and equity, I believe.
Megan Kamerick: How did the vote go down? Was it split along party lines? Was it unanimous?
Julie Ann Grimm: Yep…
Andy Lyman: Yes, it was eight to four.
Julie Ann Grimm: So that’s just one republican whose vote did not get registered because they weren’t at the committee at the time of the vote, but straight part other than that.
Andy Lyman: I believe that was, oh, Representative Hernandez…
Julie Ann Grimm: Yeah.
Andy Lyman: … He’s from Sandoval County, is a freshman lawmaker.
Megan Kamrick: And so, it was on party lines. And, was it fiery? Was it invocations of doom should this pass? (laughs)
Julie Ann Grimm: I mean, I wouldn’t say that. You know, Representative Jason Harper, who’s a Republican from Rio Rancho, has been, you know, a pretty vocal critic of this, all along. He talked about how he felt like New Mexico was going to deeply regret this decision when we look back upon it, but he also said that he felt like the tax approach of this legislation was a significant improvement over previous tries and so I think that gives you a little hint of maybe how contentious or not.
Andy Lyman: I guess we should be clear for listeners and anybody watching that there was a committee substitute presented by the sponsor and those are some of the changes that Julie Ann was talking about. And, I think we’re going to see that in every committee stop with this bill is probably, if not more amendments, a new committee sub every time, because it seems like Representative Martinez is really trying to incorporate as much as he can into every committee meeting.
Julie Ann Grimm: And to get out in front of it. I think that’s a really good observation, you know, that if you’re ready to go with the things that, you know, you have agreement about, that these things can actually move through the committee rather than getting tabled while they draft new language.
Andy Lyman: Now let’s talk with a familiar voice to the podcast about some of the specifics of the bill. We just spoke with Julie Ann about. And it’s the one bill so far that’s making it through the legislative process. Emily Kaltenbach is the New Mexico State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. We previously spoke with Emily about some of the things she and her organization want to see in legalization proposals this year. Thanks for joining us today and welcome back Emily.
Emily Kaltenbach: Thank you, Andy. Thanks for having me back on.
Andy Lyman: So, today, or Wednesday I should say, we’re recording this on Wednesday, the House Taxation and Revenue Committee passed House Bill 12, sponsored by Representative Javier Martinez and Representative Andrea Romero. And House Bill 12, as you’ve mentioned to me before, is the proposal that best fits the mission of the Drug Policy Alliance. Two things in this bill that seem to make lawmakers nervous, so far, is unlimited plant counts and the ability to home cultivate cannabis. The concern seems to be that maybe home grows and a limited supply will feed the illicit market. Are we talking about dangerous people tied to drug cartels when we talk about the quote illicit market?
Emily Kaltenbach: We’re not talking about dangerous criminals when we’re talking about a handful of people across the state who are going to grow a handful of plants. So, no, I don’t think this is a matter of fueling the illicit market, nor cutting into the profits of any industry players.
Megan Kamerick: I think… they’re also, the legislators are talking to other states, Colorado specifically and have some concerns about, even if we legalized, we could have a black market. What do you think the bill does that would address some of these concerns, which has, I mean, it did happen in Colorado and other places.
Emily Kaltenbach: And there’s… I think we all agree that there is a flourishing illicit market right now. And there has been, right? Until we legalize at a federal level, we’re not going to completely eliminate an illicit market. So, I think that’s something we all agree on, but there are ways that we can try to cripple the illicit market here in New Mexico. And, I believe that House Bill 12 does build in some of that. So, you know, one of the reasons is really allowing small business to get into the market. So, this idea of creating micro-businesses, where you don’t have to have the same amount of capital to get in if the fees are lower, so what we’ll see are smaller businesses moving in, especially in rural areas, giving access, you know, creating these access points for people to purchase in a legal, regulatory model, not in the illicit market. It also allows people who have been making their living in the illicit market to move into a legal market. We want that, right? We don’t want to not allow someone who’s perhaps been previously charged with a drug conviction, not to be able to move into the legal, above ground market. And so, House Bill 12 also make sure that individuals who may have had a prior drug conviction, allow them to work in the industry and be licensed, that that that wouldn’t be the sole reason a license is denied. It was based on their prior record. So, those are two really important pieces of the bill that are not only about equity but it’s about addressing the illicit market. The other piece is around your tax rate. When your tax rate is too high, you’re going to see the illicit market flourish. And so, when we’re talking about Colorado, there’s a stark difference in those tax rates from what’s provided in House Bill 12. So, House… what we have heard is, sort of, and what you’ll hear the sponsors talk about is this sweet spot is around 20 percent tax. And if you look at Colorado, their tax can be as high as 30 percent. So, I think that’s important as we look… even in Arizona, I believe, their tax rate, their excise tax is 16 percent. If you add on GRT to that, I imagine it’d be well over 20 percent. So, we’re surrounded by states with higher tax rates. I think that’s going to make a difference in New Mexico.
Megan Kamerick: And in terms of the provisions that people who’ve had a prior drug conviction and allowing them to enter the business legitimately, does the bill distinguish between people who were convicted for possession or with intent to distribute and of course we understand some of these laws intend to distribute…. you don’t have to have very much on you… But, of course there are some people who did a lot of distributing. So, is there any sort of nuance between that?
Emily Kaltenbach: There is a distinction between individuals who have distributed or sold to minors and so they are, that charge is carved out. Other than that, we know that… and you just mentioned that, most people who are charged with distribution or trafficking have very small amounts. Often, they’re what we call subsistence dealers. So, they’re selling a small amount in order to use themselves and we’re not talking about the cartels being, you know, the kingpins being allowed into the marketplace. We’re talking about New Mexicans, who because of, oftentimes economic insecurity, are selling small amounts of drugs in their community and why wouldn’t we want to move those individuals into a strictly regulated, safe industry. I think that’s a better option.
Andy Lyman: Some of the things I’ve heard and I should back up a second here that House Bill 12 goes on to the House Floor next, which is where folks who follow the legislature know, this is where we get the three-hour debate. There’s no public comment, just a lot of, sort of, comments, questions from other lawmakers. But, sort of tracking some of those concerns that have come up from opponents. In Wednesday’s hearing I heard things, concerns about poverty, homelessness and judging impairment. Just to focus on that last one for a second. I know you’ve addressed this so many times before, but can you explain once again why you don’t think we need to wait for the equivalent of a breath test for cannabis impairment, before we move forward with legalization?
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, I’ll preface my answer with saying we want to make sure we have safe roads, right? I grew up here in New Mexico. I saw the devastation of people driving while impaired, lost friends in high school, you know, being scared to drive at night. I mean, that is real. We’re traumatized by that in this state and so, but I want to stress that by creating a legal market, we’re not necessarily going to see this huge increase in suddenly people out there driving impaired by cannabis. People are currently driving impaired by cannabis, so we’re not that, you know, we’re not going to see this dramatic increase. I also want to say, you know, as we look at data from other states, people can say, “Oh, I’ll point to Colorado or Washington or California. You’ll see an increase in, you know, fatalities related or DUIs.” Well, we have to remember that, the difference between causation and correlation, right? And so, oftentimes when we look at this data, there might be a correlation. It doesn’t mean that there’s a causation. So, if you look at the legal states and look at their data, road safety data, and you look at surrounding states that have not legalized, you can also see trend lines up, right? So, it’s not just states that have legalized that are seeing potential increases. The other thing I would say is that around the drug, the breathalyzer piece is, you know, because of the science, you cannot determine accurate impairment with cannabis like you can alcohol. And so, we have to rely on other means, like we are relying on now, of drug recognition experts, who actually can see that, you know, can identify impairment, whether that’s because you didn’t sleep enough the night before, whether you had used cannabis, alcohol or some other drug. We need to rely on whether someone is safe to drive, not necessarily, you know, and, unfortunately, we can’t determine that with a test like we can with alcohol. Andy Lyman: So, it’s really… just comes down to the level of impairment, we can’t really find the exact impairment level. But, right now it sounds like law, maybe not lawmakers, police officers are already charging people with, you know, impaired driving and they’re blowing 0.0, haven’t had anything to drink, but they may have used some other substance or, like you said, not slept or something.
Emily Kaltenbach: Absolutely. I mean, so you know it’s not like overnight, you know, we’re gonna have this huge crisis on our hands. We know that people are purchasing in the illicit market and using those products from the illicit market right now and, but I also would say that House Bill 12 includes a public health advisory committee that is charged with looking at this data and the potential impacts, because we have to be vigilant, right? Whether that’s around youth use, or driving while impaired. We need, as a state, to be tracking those public health indicator data and impacts and House Bill 12 makes sure that that happens and also included in the community reinvestment fund is a community, a public education campaign, that would include responsible use for adults, which means, one of many things, is safe use and the risks of using and driving.
Andy Lyman: One of the things that seems to me to get, sort of, maybe, not overlooked but not brought up in committee, so far, or really sort of criticized is these, the equity and social and restorative justice provisions. I guess the equity and restorative justice does come up sometimes, when they ask, you know, are you gonna let these cartels into the business, but is that still sort of, you know, the line that DPA or Drug Policy Alliance is drawing, along with Representative Martinez, to say, you know, a bill has to have these things in it?
Emily Kaltenbach: It’s definitely Drug Policy Alliance’s position that a bill just to stand up in a legal industry is not enough. It’s a non-starter for us. It has to include the social justice and equity provisions. We have to think about how to repair some of the harms of prohibition while not criminalizing people moving forward and so House Bill 12 does that. I mean, it includes a lot of what we’d like to see when it comes to social justice and equity, whether that’s what I mentioned earlier allowing people with prior convictions to work and be licensed in the industry, to automatic expungement to, you know, there’s language in the bill that would require the Department of Regulation Licensing Department to develop a plan to promote and encourage diversity in the marketplace to, you know, the micro-businesses, that’s equity and social justice to us, of allowing small business and farmers to get into the business and have a diversity. So, those are the types of things we’d like to see. House Bill 12, I think you all heard, maybe in this last committee, that the ear marks have been taken out, but the funds are still….
Megan Kamerick: I was going to ask you about that (laughter).
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, you know, we would love to see 50 percent of the revenue to go directly back into communities like we have, you know, we’ve advocated for that in many other states. But we recognize New Mexico is a really poor state and any money that goes back into community is going to be going back into communities that have been harmed.
Andy Lyman: So, to be clear, those funds are still within the bill, right? They still establish those funds that just doesn’t direct the money to those funds until maybe we revisit this?
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah. It would be through a separate appropriations process, which, you know, makes sense that the appropriators then, you know, we can, as an organization, we’d advocate for funds to be channeled into those, or revenue to be channeled into those new funds that are created.
Megan Kamerick: And so, to make sure our listeners understand, the two funds we’re talking about, just clarify what those are again.
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, thanks. One of them is a low, a medical patient low income subsidy program. So, for we know that medicine cannabis is medicine and it’s expensive for many of New Mexico’s residents and patients and so the idea was to create a subsidy program. The other fund is called the community reinvestment fund and that would include programs like substance use and treatment prevention, education, public education, as I mentioned earlier, housing for people who are struggling with addiction or who are in recovery, because oftentimes they’re left out of the, you know, they’re the ones who are living on the streets because they can’t find stable and secure, safe housing. So, those are some of the ideas that were built into the community reinvestment program.
Megan Kamerick: And, would the appropriation have to wait until the next legislative session, or…
Emily Kaltenbach: Yes, it would. It would have to go through that appropriation. The idea is that, if we’re going to be diverting any of the revenue that comes in through the state cannabis excise tax, those would be the dollars, then, we would advocate to be put into these funds. And, since there are no dollars coming in right now, it seemed prudent to wait until it goes live, the program goes live and then determine what the revenue looks like.
Andy Lyman: So, just thinking logistically here. So, some of the dates… another change to the bill for listeners was pushing the dates back for dispensaries being able to sell. So, the original bill and actually the current Bill allows medical dispensaries to start selling recreational use at a certain date and those got pushed back. I believe it got pushed back to January next year. I guess maybe, you may not be the best person to ask about this, but would we actually see revenue next January, at this point?
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, so, it was moved back from October to January and that was a good move, just because of you know the administrative burden, you know, setting up the tax system and getting all the rules in place. So, both the medical cannabis producers who are in good standing and the micro-businesses, because they’re given a head start which is another aspect of equity and social justice, would be able to start selling January 1. So, yeah, I would imagine by the end of January, you’d start to see revenue coming in. So, you could potentially, in the next budget year, advocate for an appropriation.
Andy Lyman: Well, if Illinois is any indication, we might see some pretty significant revenues in that first 30 days.
Emily Kaltenbach: Absolutely. I think we will and you know that, you bring up a really good point, is we need to make sure we have enough supply on day one, because in Illinois there was a run on supply and that’s, that can really harm medical patients and we want to make sure that they’re not harmed in the startup and so another piece of House Bill 12 is allowing producers to be licensed and start producing also on January 1. So that, we do make sure products available for everyone.
Andy Lyman: You’re clearly not in the position to, sort of, actually walk these bills through. I mean, you don’t really have any, not really… you have zero control over how this moves, so I guess just more of your outlook. It seemed like last time, the big speed bump or roadblock for this was Senate Judiciary, chaired by Senator Joseph Cervantes, who sort of historically is against legalization or decriminalization, to the point where he actually, sort of, got that bill through. So, what’s your outlook in the Senate, right? We’re gonna have to watch through this this process all over again and sounds like a lot of these bills are not going to Finance, where it has been held up before, but Judiciary might be the new Finance in this point?
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, I wish I had control over how to get this through (laughs), but yeah… it’ll be hard to watch, but no… I think that once House Bill 12 gets over to the Senate, we’ve heard that the Senate bills will be heard on Saturday in the new Senate Tax and Business and Transportation Committee and so my guess is that there’ll be a lot of conversation and negotiation before House, Senate Judiciary, so that a good bill ends up getting to that committee and has been vetted and discussed prior to Judiciary and so, you know, who knows? You know, Senate Judiciary is a tough committee (laughs) and this is a big bill, but I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to get it to the Senate Floor.
Megan Kamerick: Is there a reconciliation process among these different bills, is there a point where things might be removed from the final bill that the Drug Policy Alliance would say, “We can’t support this anymore”?
Emily Kaltenbach: I mean, yeah… if it ended up looking more like Senate Bill 13 or the previous House Bill 17 that would be when we’d say we couldn’t support it. If the social justice and equity provisions are stripped out, that’s at the point that we, we wouldn’t be able to, you know, support it. But, you know, I feel really confident. New Mexico is with us on equity and justice. I think our elected officials are and so I don’t think those are going to be the issues that are going to be the most contentious. I think they’re going to be more business-oriented issues and so, you know, we may have to give up a few things. We’ve already, you know, given up the idea of revenue being automatically diverted in and these funds just exist and… But, I feel pretty confident that on the Senate side, our Senators are supportive of social justice and equity.
Megan Kamerick: It is… Andy knows the legislature process better than I do. He’s there every day covering it, but it is a tad late in the process. I have covered it enough to know, more than once we’ve seen gigantic bills pushed through at like 11:59am on the last day. Are you at all worried about that, because that’s never a good idea (laughs).
Emily Kaltenbach: Yeah, time is for me, I always worry about it, but as you said, you know, a lot can happen in… We still have quite a few weeks left and so, I’m happy to see that the Senate’s gonna hear bills on Saturday. And so, that, I think that gives us enough time to get it across the finish line. I’m confident, but you’re… you know, it’s always nerve-wracking.
Megan Kamerick: This is Growing Forward, a collaboration between New Mexico Political Report and New Mexico PBS. You can find our previous episodes by searching Growing Forward, wherever you find your podcasts. Or, you can find us over at nmpbs.org. Our guests today were Julie Ann Grimm, the Editor and Publisher of the Santa Fe Reporter and Emily Kaltenbach, the New Mexico State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Andy Lyman: Our producers are Kevin McDonald and Bryce Dix and our theme song is composed by Christian Bjoerklund.