Groups in New Mexico Seek to Lessen Marijuana Possession Penalties

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December 5, 2016
Denver, CO

Groups hoping to lessen the penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana have filed petitions in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, The New Mexico Telegram reports. Current New Mexico law allows for a $50 fine and up to 15 days imprisonment for a first offense. Additional offenses can amount to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in prison. The petitions would lower the fine to only $25 for less than one ounce of marijuana and completely eliminate incarceration for first-time offenders.

This current petition is the latest in a long series of efforts to change New Mexico’s marijuana policy. In 2013, a bill that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana narrowly passed the New Mexico House of Representatives but garnered little support in the Senate. Earlier this year, advocates tried to amend the New Mexico state constitution to make marijuana legal for adults, but the initiative was unable to gather enough signatures to be put on the state ballot. The current petitions are getting signatures from registered voters in both cities in order to be put on the local ballots. To be passed, the petitions would need 20% of the turnout of the last city election in Albuquerque and a third of the mayoral election draw in Santa Fe.

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