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New Mexico Senate Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

New Mexico Senate Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

On Saturday, New Mexico’s State Senate voted 21-20 with bi-partisan support to pass Senate Bill 383,which would decriminalize the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana and possession of any drug paraphernalia, making the penalty a fine of $50 not considered a criminal conviction. The bill now advances to the House.

The bill also takes away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces. Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over 1 ounce and up to 8 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with large fines or possible jail time of up to 1 year.

“I am troubled by the millions of taxpayer dollars that are spent every year on processing thousands of low level marijuana misdemeanor offenders — dollars that might be better spent by hard-pressed law enforcement agencies on more pressing public safety needs. Even more troubling is that young people and people of color are disproportionally arrested for marijuana in our state,” Emily Kaltenbach, the New Mexico State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “If ever there was a bill that advanced the smart on crime agenda and supported our New Mexican families, this is it.”

The city of Santa Fe decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in 2014.