New Mexico hemp industry blocked again in court ruling

New Mexico’s hemp industry is on hold – again – after the state Supreme Court put the brakes on two bills setting up hemp production.

The 3-2 decision doesn’t mean New Mexico’s hemp program is permanently blocked, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Instead, the justices ruled that two hemp bills vetoed last year by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez should be considered vetoed until a more thorough examination of how Martinez vetoed them.

A lower court had ruled that the hemp bills should become law because the governor used an improper procedure to veto them.

New Mexico’s hemp standstill has frustrated advocates who point out that New Mexico’s northern neighbor, Colorado, leads the nation in hemp production.

“You’ve heard the expression, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’? This is the epitome of that,” said state Sen. Cisco McSorley, who sponsored the hemp bills, according to the New Mexican.

Martinez, a former prosecutor, previously opposed the hemp measure because she said police could confuse the plant with marijuana. But she wrote no explanation last year in vetoing two hemp bills.

The New Mexico Supreme Court gave no timetable for giving the hemp vetoes a closer review.