Last Update: March 3, 2014
Next steps for New Mexico
Perennial marijuana policy reform champion Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino has introduced a joint resolution that would place the question of legalizing marijuana before voters. SJR10 would amend the New Mexico constitution to allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. It would also establish a taxed and regulated system for the sales of marijuana. Please encourage your legislators to support regulating marijuana like alcohol. And sign up for our alerts to find out when the Judiciary Committee will vote on this bill.
Meanwhile, HB191 would make it illegal to drive with 2 or more nanograms of THC or metabolites per milliliter of blood. Studies have shown that the mere presence of THC is an inaccurate indicator of impairment or intoxication in a driver. THC is fat soluble, and it can stay in regular users’ systems several days after they last used marijuana. Metabolites can remain in one’s system for weeks. Such a standard is especially onerous for medical marijuana patients, many of whom could no longer drive at all under such a law. Please contact your legislators, and ask them to oppose this bill! The fairest and most sensible standard for impaired driving laws looks at the totality of the circumstances – a standard that is currently used by 33 states.
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.