City Councilors in Albuquerque, New Mexico have introduced a proposal to decriminalize cannabis possession of an ounce or less, the Associated Press reports. The measure would reduce penalties to $25 dollars and no jail time.
Under current laws for the state’s largest city, police can issue $50 fines for first-time cannabis possession of an ounce or less – and authorities have the option to sentence offenders to a maximum of 15 days in jail. Those penalties increase on subsequent violations. Cannabis convictions can also prevent state residents from adopting a child. The AP reports that jailing a first-time offender for slam-time cannabis possession is rare in New Mexico.
A similar measure passed the city council in 2015 but was vetoed by former Mayor Richard Berry, a Republican. The new mayor Tim Keller, is a Democrat; although it’s unclear whether he would sign the measure if it made it to his desk. Councilor Pat Davis indicated that he believes the measure, which also has the support of the Albuquerque police union, would be approved by Keller.
According to the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, a total of 21 states and Washington, D.C. have passed some form of cannabis decriminalization, including outright legalization; although Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio still classify cannabis charges as misdemeanors, though there is no jail term connected to the convictions.
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