Opinion: Marijuana, Guns, and the Silence, Where Are the Advocates in New Mexico and Elsewhere?

Forbes tells us that 428,000 plus people now work in the cannabis industry. The more than 100,000 cannabis jobs created in 2021 represent a 33% increase in just one year and the growth continues. By comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment growth in business and financial occupations will grow only 8% over the next decade.

In New Mexico aproximately 5,000 workers are employeed by the industry. In Otero County New Mexico it is projected that over 300 people are employeed in the Marijuana Industry.

The growth of cannabis jobs is outpacing every other industry, Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita noted that the continued illegality of marijuana at the state and federal level means the industry is largely ignored by federal labor analysts. Marijuiana employment is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.

Marijuana use in the state of New Mexico is upwards of 18.7 % of older citizens and 34.5 percent of those 18 to 35 in New Mexico, either medically or via recreational use. Use may not be smoking but the use of edibles used in treatment of cancer and other medical conditions.

There are more registered guns per person in New Mexico than nearly every other state.

Numbers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms put the state fourth in the country, trailing only Wyoming, Arkansas and the District of Columbia. There are more than 80,000 registered firearms in New Mexico, which has a population of just over 2 million. That's about one gun for every 25 people.

The fastest growing employers in the state is the marijuana industry, use of marijuana is growing, gun ownership is high in New Mexico and growing throught the US yet, legislators talk about "protecting the 2nd Amendment and Gun Ownership rights" but where are they on the ban of guns and marijuana? Where are they on nonviolent ex-felons who are back in society employed and voting?

Where is local Otero County New Mexico Representative John Block who claims to be 100% 2nd Amendments? No where to be found, silent, and ignoring this fast growing constituency.

Leadership is coming from elsewhere not the alleged conservative leaders of New Mexico.

In Minnesota beginning two years ago, and Oklahoma more recently, not conservative southern New Mexico, conservative guns rights advocates and the marijuana industry leaders hope to petition the federal government to drop its severe classification of marijuana.

Per the Guardian from 2 years ago, The coalition of strange political bedfellows has emerged because medical marijuana users are barred from holding firearms permits, as the federal government designates marijuana a schedule I illegal drug on a par with heroin, LSD and ecstasy – unsafe and without medicinal benefit.

In Oklahoma as reported October 2023, a U.S. appeals court on appeared divided over whether medical marijuana users can be barred from owning guns, in a case challenging the same federal law prohibiting users of unlawful drugs from owning guns. A group of Florida residents who use medical marijuana urged a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at oral arguments to find that the federal ban was unconstitutional as applied to them.

William Hall, the plaintiffs' lawyer, citing last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding gun rights, said the law violated his clients' right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. In that decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court's 6-3 conservative majority announced a new test to assess gun restrictions, saying they must be "consistent with this nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation."

Should the 11th Circuit rule against the plaintiffs, it would split with the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in August found that law was unconstitutional as applied to a marijuana user.


And thus the battle continues to "protect 2nd Amendment rights" but that fight continues with no resolutions of support from New Mexico elected leaders who proport to be 'Gun rights advocates." The battle continues without the legislature of New Mexico even taking up the issue for debate or discussion. The issue continues all the while ignoring this fast-growing constituency and an industry in New Mexico that is growing and produces the largest cash crop the state has ever produced.

Representative Block, leaders of the New Mexico legislature and federal regulators your silence on this issue is heard loud and clear and yet another disappointment in the hypocrisy of leadership in the battle to protect 2nd Amendment rights.

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