Albuquerque police officers can issue $25 citations for marijuana possession of an ounce or less within city limits, a law that went into effect last year. There have been zero citations issued since the new ordinance went into effect.
Deputy Chief Harold Medina does not place marijuana in the same category as dangerous drugs, KRQE News reported. Instead, the police department has been able to put its focus on dangerous crimes and dangerous drugs for the last year. Violent crime, car theft and burglaries are much bigger concerns than a little marijuana in Albuquerque.
City Councilor Pat Davis said, “I think our experience here in Albuquerque has shown us that you can do something like this and give cops the ability to focus on bigger things, and the community can support you for that.”
Chief Medina said, “I think police discretion and knowing where we want our resources and what priorities they have is key to this. If I had to make a decision that an officer spend one hour on a simple marijuana case and preparing the paperwork, and writing the report and tagging it into evidence, or one hour walking down the business district, introducing themselves to the business owners, I’ll take the second option every time.”