Major progress in 2013 on marijuana policy reform in New Mexico
While neither became law, two proposals helped move the discussion forward on marijuana policy reform in New Mexico. House Bill 465, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane, would have reduced the penalty for first offense possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a $50 civil fine, while reducing other marijuana possession penalties. While the bill passed in the House of Representatives, there was not enough time left in the session to pass it in the Senate as well.
In the Senate, SM 80 would have tasked the state’s Economic Development Department with studying the budgetary impacts of regulating marijuana like alcohol. A Senate committee passed that legislation, but the clock also ran out before it could be passed by the full legislature.
A legislative chamber passing such a sensible decriminalization bill and serious talk about taxing and regulating marijuana means real reform is very close in New Mexico. Stay tuned to our free email alerts for all the latest on these bills and other developments on marijuana policy in New Mexico.
Marijuana laws in New Mexico
New Mexico is one of 20 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.
The New Mexico House's vote in favor of Rep. Kane's bill is a good sign. Use our online action center to ask your state legislators to finish the job and decriminalize marijuana possession in 2014.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in New Mexico, subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service.