Our state’s path voting Democrat in federal elections to send two U.S. senators, at least two of three congressional representatives and five presidential electors to Washington, D.C., these days appears to be the trajectory.

Yet when it comes to the majority, Democrats legislating intrastate with a chief executive in place, the well-being and financial health of the citizenry are cast aside. Just look at what happened to the proposal to cap short-term lending interest rates in the last legislative session.

It’s difficult to imagine how seemingly impossible it must be for individuals to face the usurious rates that payday storefront lenders charge in a time of emergency and desperation. Examples of practices in other states are as follows. Louisiana goes bold, allowing 780 percent interest plus a $30 finance fee; it’s 520 percent in Mississippi and 456.24 percent in Alabama; Texas and Nevada have no cap at all on the amount their moneylenders can charge. This is what some refer to as “free enterprise.”

That brings us to the recent maneuverings in Santa Fe at the Roundhouse. After the 2021 session ended, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she was adamant about passing legalized recreational cannabis and would call a special session.

Really, Madam Governor? Was this the most important piece of legislation on your mind? An argument for legalized pot is that one of our closest neighbors to the north opened up sales in 2014 and rakes in millions of dollars in tax revenue. No one mentions the spikes in domestic violence, traffic accidents and homelessness and health issues. We’ll find that out later on, perhaps when Lujan Grisham no longer is in office and accountable.

A word to the wise. Now that recreational cannabis has passed in the special stoner session this week, watch what happens in the future. The big guys, tobacco companies, have been waiting for years to enter the legalized pot market to bring back the revenues lost in cigarette sales. They have trademarks registered. There will be no stopping this plague.

The governor has badgered legislators to legalize cannabis — using Colorado as an example. Remember one thing: To keep New Mexicans safe during desperate times or anytime from the predatory jaws of payday lenders, be as enthusiastic in pursuing a 36 percent interest rate cap, just like Colorado and Arizona. That would show real progressive chops.

A conservationist, Richard Bock is a U.S. Army veteran and 30-year resident of Abiquiú. He has served on the Rio Arriba County Planning and Zoning Board and enjoys his life with his wife beyond the sidewalks.

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