new mexican

New Mexico: Albuquerque Mayor Vetoes Marijuana Decrim Bill

AlbuquerqueMayorRichardBerry

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico's biggest city, on Friday vetoed a measure that would have allowed voters to decide whether to decriminalize marijuana possession in much the same way that the Santa Fe City Council did in the state's capital city two days earlier.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said in a video message posted on YouTube that he vetoed the bill because marijuana is illegal, and decriminalizing it would pose conflicts with state and local laws, reports Russell Contreras of the Associated Press.

"The original form of this bill actually has several measures that I really want to see the voters of Albuquerque weigh in on," Mayor Berry claimed. "Unfortunately, at the last minute there were measures added that I, in good conscience, cannot sign, including flying in the face of federal and state law."

Berry claimed he didn't want to get Albuquerque into a legal fight. Decrim supporters criticized the mayor for his decision.

"We're disappointed to see the mayor turn away from the opportunity to let city voters have a [say in] how our city deals with crime and justice issues," said Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, one of the organizations that sponsored the campaigns to reduce marijuana penalties in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

New Mexico: Santa Fe City Council Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

ReducingMarijuanaPenalties(NewMexico)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Santa Fe City Council, in a surprise move on Wednesday night, decriminalized marijuana possession. The city of about 70,000 residents became the first in New Mexico to decriminalize pot.

The resolution, passed on a 5-4 vote, changes the city's penalties for cannabis possession from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a $50-$100 fine and up to 15 days in jail, to a civil infraction and a $25 fine, reports Joey Peters at the Santa Fe Reporter.

It also instructs Santa Fe's police force to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as the lowest law enforcement priority. The decrim measure applies to possession cases involving one ounce or less, and also decriminalizes marijuana paraphernalia.

The vote came after pressure from Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM to get decriminalization on the November general election ballot.

"Obviously from a policy perspective, this is incredible," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico director of Drug Policy Action, affiliated with Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. "The people have won tonight no matter what."

Kaltenbach added, though, that the Reducing Marijuana Penalties initiative was formed with the aim of getting decrim on the ballot so that voters could have a say on the issue. Petitioners submitted more than 11,000 signatures from residents to qualify for November's ballot.

Syndicate content