In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 photo, Korbin Osborn, left, works as a cannabis adviser at a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
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New Mexico would become the first U.S. state to set up its own government-operated marijuana stores and subsidize medical cannabis for the poor under a bill brokered between Republicans and Democrats, as a new wave of states weighs legislation that would legalize recreational sales and consumption.Carly Wolf, state policies coordinator at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the provisions for state-run stores and medical cannabis subsidization both would be new to the United States, as New Mexico seeks to become the first state to set up a complete regulatory framework through legislation.New Mexico would levy a 17 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales and allow possession of up to 1 ounce, or 28 grams.Sponsors say the bill would safeguard New Mexico's medical marijuana program by removing taxes on medical pot to keep down prices and ensure its 70,000 participants don't flock to the recreational market.House Democrats in New Mexico, where ballot initiatives aren't available, say they spent years exploring policies and tax provisions for a bill that now includes funding for research on the health effect of legalization.
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