New Mexico becomes the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana.
On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 323, which decriminalizes up to half an ounce of marijuana. Starting on July 1, the penalty for possessing up to half an ounce of marijuana will be a $50 civil fine, instead of potential jail time.
Unfortunately, a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults died in the Senate Finance Committee after passing the House. Adults should have access to safe, regulated places to purchase marijuana, and 60% of New Mexico voters agree, according to a poll from last year.
Please reach out to your lawmakers in support of marijuana legalization. Then, share the good news about decriminalization by forwarding this email to friends and family.
If you live in New Mexico, contact the governor today in support of decriminalization!
Over the weekend, in the waning hours of the legislative session, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed SB 323, a bill that decriminalizes marijuana possession. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). Gov. Grisham is expected to sign the bill.
SB 323 would remove the criminal penalties for possessing up to a half ounce of marijuana and instead institute a $50 fine. Currently, the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, if it's your first offense, is up to 15 days in jail and a maximum fine of $150. If it's your second offense with less than an ounce of marijuana, you could face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Unfortunately, bills to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana did not make it out of committee in the Senate, after passing the House. Nonetheless, removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession is a great step towards more sane and compassionate marijuana policy. So, please contact the governor today and ask her to sign SB 323. Then, forward this email to friends and family and ask that they reach out to the governor, too. Together, we can bring more sensible marijuana laws to New Mexico.
Yesterday, the New Mexico Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 323, a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana. However, there is no guarantee that the House will schedule a vote on the bill.
Marijuana decriminalization will allow for law enforcement to better prioritize their resources. It also means that otherwise law-abiding adults won't face jail time and criminal records for using a substance safer than alcohol. Last year, over 2,000 marijuana possession cases were filed in the New Mexico courts!
While decriminalization is a step in the right direction, ultimately, marijuana should be legalized for adults and taxed and regulated like alcohol. There are two legalization bills being considered, HB 356 and SB 577. The House bill, HB 356, received favorable votes out of committee and is currently on the floor calendar and may be voted on soon.
Please contact your lawmakers, urging them to support both the decriminalization bill and taxing and regulating marijuana.
Together, we can end harsh penalties for marijuana possession and finally make marijuana legal in New Mexico.
Do you know where your candidates stand on marijuana policy?
New Mexico’s General Election Day is less than one week away, and early voting has already begun! If you are registered to vote, you may cast your ballot early through Saturday, November 3.
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has said she would support legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use under certain circumstances, while Steve Pearce (R) remains unsupportive. Both candidates are supportive of New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.
Check out the state’s website here for more voting information, including where you can cast your ballot. You can find more information on current marijuana policy in New Mexico here.
Please forward this to your family and friends, and be sure to get out and vote!
Yesterday, Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Tim Keller signed an ordinance that decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana under city law.
Once the ordinance goes into effect, the city’s penalty for under an ounce of marijuana will be a $25 civil fine. It will go into effect five days after it is published by the city clerk. Council members Pat Davis and Isaac Benton sponsored the ordinance, which passed the council in a 5-4 vote.
Police Chief Mike Geier voiced his support, saying, ”This new legislation allows officers to focus on violent crime, property crime and drunk driving.”
It will still be possible for a person to be charged under the statewide penalty — a fine of up to $50, up to 15 days in jail, or both. If you are a New Mexico resident, please let your state legislators know you want the state follow suit and stop criminalizing marijuana consumers.
Earlier this year, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed H.B. 527, which would have strengthened and expanded the state’s medical cannabis program. Among other changes, the bill would have created legal protections for agency staff and employees of labs, product manufacturers, and others; added protections for patients visiting from other medical cannabis states; and expanded qualifying medical conditions.
Patients and their families then called on Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher to adopt similar provisions, which the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board had already recommended. Despite the support of the board and the Legislature, Secretary Gallagher announced that she is rejecting most of the recommended changes, while reserving judgment on some issues.
Although this development is deeply disappointing, the fight isn’t over. Marijuana policy reform is always a difficult battle, but across the country, medical programs continue to expand while public support grows stronger.
Thanks to the hard work of advocates like our colleagues at the Drug Policy Alliance and other committed activists, an enormous amount of progress has already been made in New Mexico — which was the first state to explicitly allow medical marijuana for PTSD. With continued determination, more improvements will surely be on the horizon.
MPP has formally endorsed Libertarian Party nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in the race for president. Johnson is one of two candidates who received an "A+" grade in MPP's presidential candidate report card.
Below is a statement from our Executive Director, Rob Kampia, that contextualizes MPP's endorsement.
"MPP is a single-issue organization, and our mission is simple: 'Regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in the United States.' We don't take a position -- and we therefore don't take into account a candidate's position -- on other issues, such as abortion, guns, gay rights, Iraq, taxes, or Social Security. We also don't work in Canada or Portugal.
"Of the three presidential candidates who will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C., Gary Johnson clearly has the best position on marijuana policy. When he first advocated for legalization in 1999, he was the highest-ranking public official in the U.S. to do so -- as the sitting Republican governor of New Mexico, no less.
"Shortly after he left office, Johnson and I drove around New England lobbying the governors of VT and RI, the speaker of the NH House, and staffers in the NY governor's office. Johnson is a forceful advocate for legalization and is still one of MPP's strongest allies.
"Legalization has been Johnson's number-one issue for 17 years. MPP's endorsement of Johnson was an easy call; the more difficult question is whether MPP should support a candidate who's good on medical marijuana but bad on legalization, when the candidate is facing an opponent who's bad on everything.
"It's fine if voters prefer to consider a candidate's marijuana position in the context of a dozen other positions, but that's not MPP's mission. We're narrowly focused on marijuana policy and are happy to work alongside anyone who shares our mission, whether they're Socialists, Republicans, or otherwise."
SB 383 would have replaced criminal penalties for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana with a $50 civil fine. It also would have removed the possibility of jail time for possession of up to eight ounces. Although SB 383 passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote, the House did not take it up. It is disappointing that the New Mexico House chose not to review a bill that would have reduced the punishment for individuals who possessed a substance safer than alcohol.
Time ran out not only on decriminalization — but also, fortunately, on a harmful bill that would have unfairly targeted marijuana consumers. HB 120 would have declared anyone with an extremely small amount of THC per milliliter of blood guilty of driving under the influence — even if the person could prove they were actually not impaired! HB 120 passed in the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
Last November, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties in New Mexico weighed in on whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. They responded with overwhelming support, with Bernalillo County voting 60% and Santa Fe County voting 73% in favor. Now, legislators from across the state have the opportunity to act on the will of their constituents. SB 383, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of $50.
This common-sense policy will save the state time, money, and resources, while also improving public safety. Millions of dollars every year are wasted on processing thousands of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenders. It takes time for police to book marijuana users, prosecutors to try cases, and labs to test marijuana. This is an egregious waste of law enforcement’s limited resources, which could be better spent addressing more pressing public safety needs.
Support is growing for more sensible marijuana policies in the state Senate. Just last week, the Rules Committee approved of Sen. Ortiz y Piño’s resolution to place a question on the ballot asking voters to end marijuana prohibition. Please email your legislators today and ask for their support on this long overdue reform.
Last week, New Mexico State Rep. Bill McCamley introduced HB 160, the Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act. This bill would treat marijuana similarly to alcohol, allowing adults 21 and over to use, possess, and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana with no penalty. HB 160 would also set up a taxed and regulated market for marijuana production and sale.
While HB 160 is an important reform that should be passed, the New Mexico legislature is also considering another bill that would unfairly target marijuana consumers. HB 120 would declare anyone with an extremely small amount of THC per millimeter of blood guilty of driving under the influence — even if the person could prove they were actually not impaired! Although intoxicated driving should not be tolerated, knee jerk ideas like per se limits are unethical, unnecessary, and not supported by science.
If you are a New Mexico resident, please email your legislators and ask them to support sensible marijuana reform like HB 160.