Although hopes for legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico have been sidelined until the next legislative session, marijuana advocates might yet score a legislative victory in the Land of Enchantment.
On March 14, 2017, the New Mexico House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee voted to advance SB 258, a bill that would decriminalize possession of marijuana. Under the proposed legislation, those caught with a half ounce of marijuana would be issued a $50 fine, with no possibility of jail time.
Individuals possessing more than an ounce of marijuana would face an increased fine and a misdemeanor charge. Those possessing eight ounces of marijuana or more would be charged with a felony.
“This would take the small possessions out of the criminal justice system and that should free up, again, the resources of prosecutors, somebody like the governor’s background, to really deal with the violent offenders in our community who we’re not keeping up with,” said bill sponsor Sen. Joseph Cervantes, as quoted by KRQE News 13.
Before it can go before the full House for a vote, SB 258 will still have to be approved by the House Judiciary committee. The legislative session ends on March 18, 2017.