As of today, the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Mexico is no longer be classified as a criminal offense.
The new law reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor — formerly punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Lawmakers passed legislation in April to change the law. Late last week, the Governor announced the formation of a new task-force to make policy recommendations with regard to 2020 legislation to legalize the adult use of cannabis.
“This is a win for consumers and activists continuing to fight and reform the state’s marijuana laws,” says NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf. “The criminalization of patients and consumers is a failed public policy, and there is finally a more sensible alternative in place. New Mexicans, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown, have faced arbitrary discrimination and stigmatization for far too long.”
Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016.