- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A proposal to allow New Mexico voters to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana stalled Friday, putting the measure in doubt - for now.

At a disjointed meeting, the Senate Rules Committee failed to debate the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana for those 21 years of age and older.

Instead, committee members got bogged down in debates over a minimum wage proposal and a measure to change election laws.

The failure to bring up the marijuana proposal angered a handful of activists, some from out of state, who sat through the meeting for a chance to speak up in support of legalizing marijuana in New Mexico.

The proposal’s sponsor, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, said he hopes the committee debates the measure next week. If not, he wasn’t sure whether there was enough time before the legislative session ends Feb. 20.

“We have a chance to get it passed,” he said. “But it’s going to take a lot of work.”

It’s unclear how much support the measure has in the Senate Rules Committee.

If lawmakers approve the proposed constitutional amendment the question would be decided by voters in the general election.

However, the plan is likely to face difficulty in the Legislature, and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez opposes marijuana legalization.

Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana. Pot stores opened in Colorado last month, and sales are expected to start in Washington later this year.

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