Companion Resolution, Making Marijuana a Low Law Enforcement Priority Also Passes
Albuquerque city council members Monday night voted 5-4 on party lines in favor of Ordinance 15-60 to remove criminal sanctions pertaining to possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia from the city’s municipal codes and replace them with a $25 fine. The measure now heads to the Mayor who has the authority to veto the legislation.
A companion resolution, also voted on Monday night, that would make marijuana possession violations a low priority for the Albuquerque Police Department, passed 6-3 with Republican Councilor Brad Winter joining the Democrats in support.
"We are criminalizing people not only for the use [of marijuana], but for life," said Rey Garduño, president of the City Council and the legislation co-sponsor, in his opening remarks. "We shouldn't curtail them for such a minor infraction."
Last fall, Garduño sponsored a similar measure that also passed the council 5-4 on a party line vote. However, it was vetoed by Mayor Richard J. Berry.
Since then, Albuquerque residents voiced their support at the ballot box for decriminalizing marijuana. In November, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming support for marijuana decriminalization. Bernalillo County voted 60 percent and Santa Fe County voted 73 percent in favor of statewide decriminalization. More than 50 percent of Albuquerque voters in all nine city council districts voted to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.