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!
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.
New Mexico is considering rule changes that would make the medical marijuana program less transparent and less accountable. The proposed rules would also make it harder for patients — many of whom are disabled veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain — to access their medicine. Thousands of seriously ill patients are worried that their medicine will be taken away.
The proposed rules would reduce the number of plants that patients could grow from twelve currently to six. They would also create a new $50 patient application fee, force patients to pay for their own criminal background checks, and remove necessary checks and balances in the system. They would also triple the annual fees licensed producers must pay, which would surely be reflected in medical cannabis prices.