NM: City Council Votes To Decriminalize Small Amounts Of Marijuana

Photo Credit: CMGDigital

A resolution to lessen the offense of marijuana possession is on its way to Mayor Tim Keller’s desk.

This after Albuquerque City Council voted in favor of decriminalizing an ounce or less of marijuana on Monday night.

The resolution is moving forward thanks to a 5 to 4 vote.

That means if Mayor Keller signs off on it, low-level pot possession without a valid medical marijuana card would only be a citable offense with a $25 ticket, with no jail time.

The proposal was introduced by city councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton.

Five years ago, Davis says he stood on the other side of the podium, asking council to pass legislation to decriminalize marijuana.

Council would go on to pass a bill but it was vetoed by then-Mayor Richard Berry.

Davis says this resolution is the same one as back then, but the only change is that it prohibits police from charging a person with a valid marijuana card.

Their goal is to free up police resources.

“If you’ve been the victim of a burglary or sex crime, the last thing you want to know is that your rape kit or fingerprint is stuck in line behind a petty drug test at the drug lab that takes hundred dollars and several hours worth of paperwork to do,” said Davis.

Not everyone is convinced. District 5 city councilor Cynthia Borrego voted against it.

Borrego says she’s worried about the safety of marijuana.

“You don’t know what it’s laced with it could be laced with PCBs. it could be laced with any possibility of drugs,” said Borrego.

At the meeting, only one person out of several who spoke during public comment were in opposition to the measure.

Currently, those in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana could be arrested face up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $50.