Albuquerque City Council To Take Action On Proposed Marijuana Ordinance

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Marijuana may soon be decriminalized in the city of Albuquerque. Monday, city councilors are expected to take final action on the proposed ordinance.

While the proposal does not legalize marijuana, it would minimize the punishment for possessing pot.

For some, it’s not a big deal.

“Marijuana is marijuana, its all from the ground. I mean it helps a lot of people, I can see the benefits,” said Tonya Herrera.

Others have their reservations.

“I think that when its medically prescribed to people that really need it maybe that’s ok but,” said Cynthia Manriquez.

Monday, the Albuquerque City Council will discuss decriminalizing the drug. Possessing marijuana would still be illegal. However, it would give officers the option to either ignore it or write you a ticket.

Back in March, Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton introduced an ordinance that would only apply to possessions of an ounce or less, which is currently a misdemeanor.

Supporters believe the ordinance will allow police to focus more on violent crimes in the city.

“It means its less time that they are worrying about the lesser stuff and they can spend more time focusing on the stuff that matters,” said Justin McManis.

While those against the ordinance fear it will add to the crime problem.

“We have a lot of violence and drug abuse in our city as it is and I think there would be so much more abuse if it would not be against the law,” Manriquez. said.

Davis says the ordinance is geared towards minor offenses.

“If somebody has 45 pounds of weed and an automatic rifle and they are running through town running drugs. We still have lots of laws to take care of that,” Davis said.

Currently, the misdemeanor crime is punishable by 15 days in jail or a $50 fine. If the ordinance is approved, the punishment drops to a $25 citation and no jail time.

The city council meets Monday at 5 p.m.