January 31, 2006
By an overwhelming majority , the state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow sufferers of serious medical conditions to smoke marijuana without fear of prosecution.
Strong majorities of both political parties contributed to the 34-6 passage of SB258, sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque .
Although an assistant to the White House drug czar flew to New Mexico to testify against the bill last week, 12 of the Senate’s 18 Republicans voted for it.
However, to become law, the bill first must make it through the House, where last year’s bill died as a “hostage” in political wrangling over an unrelated bill.
Gov. Bill Richardson, who put the bill on his legislative call, has said he’d sign a medical-marijuana bill. Eric Witt, one of the governor’s legislative liaisons, said Tuesday that Richardson would sign the bill if he was convinced it was not in direct conflict with federal law and it protected state agencies involved in the program.