Senate narrowly votes to keep drive-thru cannabis sales

By: - February 6, 2024 3:00 am

(Getty Images)

By one vote, the New Mexico Senate passed an amendment on Monday afternoon that will continue to allow cannabis businesses to offer their services at drive-thru windows.

Sen. Katy Duhigg (D-Albuquerque) is carrying Senate Bill 6, which would make a number of changes to New Mexico’s cannabis law. A substitute bill written by the Senate Judiciary Committee would have prohibited sales of cannabis through a drive-thru window.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) introduced three amendments to the bill on the Senate floor on Monday. The first took out the drive-thru cannabis prohibition and allowed them to stay in place.

Opponents in the Senate argued that drive-thru cannabis sales will eventually lead to loss of life.

The Senate passed the amendment in a 21-20 vote, with Sen. Ronn Griggs (R-Alamogordo) not voting. Hours later, senators passed the overall bill in a 25-15 party-line vote.

The New Mexico Department of Health noted in its analysis that the bill already prohibits cannabis and alcohol from being sold and used in the same place.

Steinborn cited phone calls he had with the head of the state’s Cannabis Control Division and his local police chief who told him they haven’t had any problems with drive-thru cannabis.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) cited state Department of Transportation data showing that in 2021, the latest annual data available, there were more drug-related traffic accident fatalities than in the previous five years.

Supporters argued that drive-thru allows disabled people with limited mobility to access the drug, there are already drive-thru pharmacies for other drugs, and that the decision should be left to local governments.

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

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