Just two months after a New Mexico state legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating cannabis for adults, the Albuquerque City Council voted 5-4 on a party-line vote April 2 to remove some criminal sanctions for possession of marijuana and related paraphernalia from the city’s municipal codes.
The measure now heads to Mayor Keller’s desk for signature. Former Councilor Garduño and Councilor Benton had sponsored a similar measure that passed the council 5-4 on a party line vote in 2015 but it was vetoed by then Mayor Berry.
The proposed ordinance makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and related drug paraphernalia a civil infraction with a fine of $25. A civil infraction is not considered a criminal conviction, so it has less stigma attached. The ordinance also takes away the potential for jail time.
Currently, a person can spend more than two weeks in jail for a first offense and 90 days for a subsequent offense. Albuquerque becomes the