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SANTA FE, N.M. — Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants marijuana legalization back on agenda for the next legislative session.

Lujan Grisham said March 16, 2019, that next year's limited 30-day legislative session will include marijuana reform proposals. This year's session ended March 16 at noon.

Lujan Grisham complimented sponsors of a failed bipartisan bill this year that would have legalized marijuana sales at state-operated stores and subsidized medical cannabis for low-income patients. The House-approved bill stalled without a Senate vote.

Lujan Grisham says legalization is possible with sufficient precautions to prevent use by children and driving while impaired.

In New Mexico, the governor decides what major policy issues are heard during abbreviated legislative sessions in even-numbered years.

Possession Penalties as Little as $50

The Legislature also voted to decrease penalties for marijuana possession.

Both the House and Senate passed on March 15, 2019, a measure that would reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. More ambitious reform proposals to allow recreational marijuana sales in New Mexico failed to pass.

The bill from Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes reduces penalties for possession of up to a half-ounce, or 14.2 grams, of marijuana to a $50 fine on the first offense.

The proposal heads to Lujan Grisham.

Featured image of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in downtown Santa Fe by Pedro Szekely.