Last Update: September 23, 2014
Next steps for New Mexico
Again this session, perennial champion Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino introduced a joint resolution to place the question of legalizing marijuana before voters. SJR10 would have amended the New Mexico constitution to allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. It would also have established a taxed and regulated system for the sales of marijuana. Unfortunately, in a tied vote of 5-5, the resolution failed to pass the Senate Rules Committee. Please encourage your legislators to support regulating marijuana like alcohol.
On a brighter note, the House did at least approve a measure to study the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. The Legislative Finance Committee will conduct the study and report its findings later this year. In particular, the committee will look at state revenue and agricultural production levels. Furthermore, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program House added two conditions — Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease — to the list of qualifying conditions. And a bill to set an unfair per se DUI-D limit — which would surely have ensnared patients who drove long after they ceased to be impaired — failed to gain support.
Marijuana laws in New Mexico
New Mexico is one of 21 states (plus D.C.) that have removed criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. For information on New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, including information on qualifying conditions and how to become a patient, please visit the New Mexico Health Department’s information page.
For non-medical use, New Mexico’s marijuana laws are less draconian than those of most states. Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for non-medical purposes is punishable by a $50-100 fine and up to 15 days in jail. A second offense, or a conviction for possession of more than an ounce, can lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison term of up to one year. However, 18 other states have completely replaced criminal penalties with a civil fine, and no potential for jail time. Please ask your legislators to support decriminalizing marijuana.
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