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Santa Fe Police Keep Arresting People For Marijuana, Despite Decriminalization


santa fe marijuanaThe Santa Fe City Council voted to decriminalize simple marijuana possession in August of 2014. At the New Mexico state level, simple marijuana possession is still a crime (misdemeanor), punishable by a fine of up to $100, up to 15 days in jail, and the offense stays on the offenders record. The vote in August made simple marijuana possession (up to one ounce) a civil infraction, punishable by a $25 fine, and nothing else. Apparently some police officers in Santa Fe don’t like the move, and instead of enforcing city marijuana ordinances like they should be doing, they are instead arresting people and citing state law. Per The Cannabist:

Dozens of police reports show that Santa Fe officers since November have been filing cases only under state statute in Magistrate Court. Those cases involve possession of an ounce or less of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia.

Since Nov. 5, when the last verifiable citation was issued under the city ordinance, there have been more than 70 charges under the state statute.

After the Santa Fe council voted last summer to adopt the new ordinance, officers were given discretion to issue citations under either municipal or state law.

“I understand that it’s an option,” City Councilor Joseph Maestas told the Albuquerque Journal. “But it’s troubling to me that policy hasn’t been fully accepted to the degree of full implementation.”

To be fair, officers have the discretion to cite state law instead of city ordinances. However, it takes a real jerk of a human (and a waster of public money) to ruin someone’s life when they don’t have to. What benefit is there to arresting someone for a plant that is safer than alcohol and tobacco when you don’t have to? What benefit is there to ruining someone’s life by giving them the ‘marijuana scarlet letter?’ I don’t know how these cops sleep at night. Clearly there is still work to be done in New Mexico, where I’m hopeful that full marijuana legalization will become a reality sooner than later.


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Johnny Green


  1. There is still much left to do with correcting what’s been wrong since the 1930’s. This is still big business and the Courts need their fines, court costs paid, counseling, and community service performed for slave labor (free).

    Is this the famous Max Shmuelman who taught Ocean’s 12 to raise the building?…the “Shmuelman Special” lol. Just kidding.

  2. That’s the point of most of them becoming cops cause they’re jerks in the first place, so why not get paid for it and ruin some lives in the process.

  3. I suppose we could say that about everyone on the planet, no? Except the general public is meant to obey the law, and the police are meant to enforce the law, a much more complicated task.

  4. Hickenlooper did exactly the same thing in Denver. He wanted the police to arrest for cannabis, and they did. In fact, when it was decriminalized, arrests went up. Then the voters made it the lowest police priority – arrests went up again, the obvious message is “we make the laws, not the voters.”
    Finally, the month before the vote on Amendment 64 (Oct 2012), arrests nearly doubled. I guess they wanted to get in their last licks.
    Cannabis arrests are now down considerably since legalization, although there are still some arrests, mostly simple possession over 1 oz. I do not know how the courts are dealing with petty possession charges.

  5. Johnny oneye on

    They’re looking for money.
    cash is split up amongst the agency’s
    “Equitable Sharing ”
    They take any money ,vehicles if “drugs” we’re involved
    making cannabis a crime = cannon meat

  6. Read it again, it’s an option not a mandated law, and the state law can take precedence.
    Since we don’t know the circumstances that lead up to these citations there’s no way to solidly refute the rationale for issuing them.

  7. If it an option they should have known it was going to backfire and cops where going to continue arresting people because it is an easy collar.

  8. Yep, cops love drug laws. They love driving up and down the boulevard profiling stoners for traffic stops. Investigating real crime takes some effort.
    And the DEA is just one big, 2 billion dollar federal scam. Destroying our lives is big fun, and big money!

  9. Not to mention the feds keep those grants coming for drug task forces so this is just overtime and fat for these pigs. When they take the monetary factor away all will change.

  10. Yeah, and cops have always had the option of just looking the other way when they find a little weed. But if they’re looking (searching your car during routine traffic stops) they want to screw you over.
    So if they have a choice, you’re screwed.

  11. Just so you know that they all aren’t insane in our state, at least one magistrate judge in Santa Fe it throwing those cases mentioned above right out of court, case dismissed. To make it even more ridiculous, some of the police were saying they didn’t have the “new cannabis citations” to write up the tickets. A better protest would have been to just cross out “parking violation” and write in “cannabis violation”. Geeze. The new citations are being distributed now.

  12. The badge is power, and power attracts people who desire to abuse that power. Until we change the way we hire police, we will have cops that don’t care about our rights.
    We need higher standards, psychological testing, and more accountability.

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