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Albuquerque's Marijuana Decriminalization Begins April 20th

Possession of one ounce or less will now be a civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine.

Starting April 20th, 2018, the unofficial national day of action calling for responsible cannabis policies, possession of small amounts of marijuana will no longer be a crime in Albuquerque.

The ordinance to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, cosponsored by Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis and Ike Benton, will take effect tomorrow.

Previously, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana was a criminal offense punishable by up to a $50 fine or 15 days in jail for a first offense, and up to a $500 fine or 90 days in jail for a second offense. Under the new ordinance possession of one ounce or less is a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine, much like a parking ticket.

In 2016 there were 177 drug violations that listed possession of marijuana as the highest or only offense.

“I’m very proud to see our great city take a step forward in ending the failing war on drugs,” said City Councilor Pat Davis. “From my time as a police officer I know firsthand the adverse effects these laws have on communities, and particularly communities of color. I started this fight five years ago as an advocate and am proud that now as a City Councilor I could finally move it forward.”

Albuquerque will join at least 48 other cities, including Santa Fe, that have passed legislation to decriminalize marijuana. With this legislation, nearly one in three New Mexican‘s now live in a city where possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense locally.

Marijuana possession still remains a crime under state and federal law and driving under the influence remains a crime in Albuquerque.