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New Mexico Senate Passes Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana

Legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana, while reducing the penalties for larger amounts, has been passed by New Mexico’s full Senate.

Senate Bill 258 was passed with a strong 33 to 9 vote, sending to the House of Representatives for consideration. If passed in the House it would be sent to Governor Susana Martinez who is opposed to marijuana law reform; however, a 2/3rds vote in the legislature can override a potential veto.

Under the proposed law, possessing up to a half ounce of cannabis would become a maximum fine of $50, whereas it is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

The measure would also reduce the penalties for possessing up to 8 ounces of cannabis.

Below is a legislative summary of the bill:

Senate Bill 258 proposes to amend 30-31-23 NMSA 1978 to reduce the penalties for possession of marijuana. A person convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana would be issued a $50 penalty assessment; more than one ounce but not more than four ounces would be a petty misdemeanor; more than four ounces but not more than eight would be a misdemeanor; and more than eight ounces would be a fourth degree felony. The penalties for possession of synthetic cannabinoids would remain unchanged.

SB 258 would also amend 30-31-25.1 NMSA 1978 to provide that a person who is found guilty of violating subsection A (use or possession of drug paraphernalia) would be issued a $50 penalty assessment. Finally, the bill would create a new section of Chapter 31 NMSA 1978 for penalty assessments under the Criminal Code

 

Click here for the full text of Senate Bill 258.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

3 comments

  1. Anonymous

    So is the fine $50 as of march?

  2. T

    Not sure if this true or not. Local news reported it failed to pass.

    1. Anthony Martinelli

      Hi T,

      A bill to legalize cannabis failed; this measure would decriminalize a half ounce while reducing the penalty for one to two ounces.

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