Albuquerque: City Enacts Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has signed municipal legislation into law decriminalizing offenses involving the possession of small quantities of cannabis and marijuana-related paraphernalia.

Under the new law, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil infraction, punishable by a $25 fine. Under state law, first-time simple marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a criminal record.

Mayor Keller called the new local law “a step in the right direction.” He added, “Removing the criminal penalties for [the] possession of small amounts of marijuana will free up precious resources for law enforcement who have plenty on their plate already.”

The city of Albuquerque (population 560,000) joins the city of Santa Fe (population 84,000), which decriminalized minor marijuana possession offenses via a 2014 municipal initiative.

In recent years, an estimated 60 municipalities in states where cannabis remains criminalized have enacted local ordinances either partially or fully decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.