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New Mexico State Senate Passes Historic Marijuana Decriminalization Bill


new mexico marijuanaNew Mexico’s State Senate voted (21-20) to pass Senate Bill 383, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The final vote was bi-partisan with Republican Senator Torraco and Republican Senator Ryan voting in support. Five Democrats voted against the bill (Munoz, Padilla, Clemente Sanchez, Papen, and Smith). The bill now advances to the House.

The proposed legislation makes 1 ounce or less of marijuana and possession of any drug paraphernalia a penalty assessment with a fine of $50; a penalty assessment is not considered a criminal conviction. 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. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2013 with bi-partisan support.

“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.” stated Emily Kaltenbach, the New Mexico State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “If ever there was a bill that advanced the smart on crime agenda and supported our New Mexican families, this is it.”

New Mexicans agree it is time to change the way we are policing marijuana in the state. In November, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming support for marijuana decriminalization; Bernalillo County voting 60% and Santa Fe County voting 73% in favor of statewide decriminalization. The state’s first vote on marijuana policy was not merely local; more than 40% of state voters weighed in and a clear majority of those casting ballots sent the message that voters are ready to end criminal penalties for marijuana possession. A 2013 poll by Sanderoff showed 57% of New Mexicans in favor of decriminalization.

To date, eighteen states and the District of Columbia have reduced penalties for marijuana possession. As of today, over 120 million people, or 1/3 of the U.S. population, live in jurisdictions where marijuana has been essentially decriminalized – meaning there is no jail time associated with possession.

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

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA fights for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Master of Reality on

    I will take a $50 fine VS thousands in lawyer and court costs. Quit whining you twisted baby man and be thankful that any changes have happened.

  2. That is a slim margin of passage, but passage none the less. Cartels are already in NM selling their shit mexi weed.

  3. Yeah, the flip side of these opinion polls is that about 40 percent of Americans still believe that pot smokers belong in prison.

  4. Already passed the state senate. But you are right, there are a lot of idiots in Santa Fe who are screaming that more people will get addicted to marijuana, and the believe this decriminalization is a invitation to cartels to Come to sunny New Mexico.

  5. Our Senate in NM has a Dem Majority. The House has a Rep. majority that as a whole, does not care what people in the “big cities” think or voted. The Hemp bill in NM helps the farmers in rural NM which is predominantly Republican, and that has a chance of passing in the house. This bill to send decriminalization to the voters probably won’t make it in the house. I hope and pray it will, but I won’t hold my breath. And – our governor, Susana Texicana, who vowed to kill our MMJ program when running for her first term of office in 2010, has her administration clamping down on the medical cannabis program with new rules and new hoops for everyone to jump through. She is not fond of this legislation.

  6. They wont pass it at the senate. They already tried, and the anti’s claimed, “children of minorities will be affected”. Yet what they fail to realize is that money made off it’s revenue could HELP these children…. Idiots in Sante fe.

  7. So now in New Mexico you can have a truckload of alcohol and a garbage bag of tobacco, and you’re ok . But one joint is a $50.00 fine.
    I’m all for progress, but if these ” baby steps” are gonna be 50 years apart, I won’t see prohibition end in my lifetime.

  8. I have been recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015. Prior to this, i had, and still suffer from anxiety and sleep disorders. im currently trying to obtain a new mexico cannibas card. with this simple decriminalization im wondering if it’s even worth jumping through all those hoops to obtain a card when i already have other sources of obtaining the medicine and quietly and safely using these meds in an undisclosed location. also, unfortunitely, i myself have fell victimized, judged, and convicted for utilizing this GOD given flower from the state of arizona. it was less then a gram and i was driving. so it was a DUI even though i wasnt smoking at the time it was in my blood and i was convicted of a felony. i spent 4 months in a med/max security prison!! $6000 in fines and 3 years parole!!! all of this has caused me to have severe anxiety and depression. with that comes the inability to vote obtain decent work and even decent health insurance. it’s a downward spiral that, to me, just isnt worth it.Now, furthermore, I may just have to leave my roots in new mexico and find a new home in colorado where a person like me doesnt have to feel like a staright criminal in order to obtain my medicine and actually feel at peace. this is my first time speaking out. sorry if it seems off subject.

  9. We the People on

    This is another historic first step for New Mexico.

    I believe the House will take up the Bill and put legalization on the Ballot for 2016 as an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution. The reasons to me are,

    1. Oil & gas taxes for New Mexico are way down, Marijuana legalization will allow new taxes just as in Colorado, and if oil returns to its former glory, the new taxes will be an added bonus to the state.
    2. Hemp farming has been approved by the Senate as a cash crop. Hemp can be used to make so many different products and is another lucrative revenue stream for the state.
    3. The voters in two important counties in the state have voted to
    decriminalize Marijuana without government action, so it’s not a stretch
    to see the House giving voters of New Mexico a yea or nay vote in the
    2016 elections on legalization.
    4. Marijuana has been made legal to grow and use, as long as it is without cost, for all residents in Washington D.C., not on Federal properties. How can individual state legislatures and governors not allow a vote by their own constituents to have such a vote too?

  10. Sure as they will always be those who will find a way or making a negative comment when something positive has been achieved.

  11. There was a time when possession of just a single joint would get you life in prison in Texas. Those laws were changed like 50 years ago; possession up to 4 ounces became a misdemeanor. We have had no further progress since then. And police still eagerly pursue those misdemeanor arrests for small amounts of weed.
    There will probably be police in New Mexico that still use that $50.00 fine as an excuse to search, harass, and incarcerate on other charges.

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