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Mayor Keller Signs Bill to Remove City’s Criminal Penalties for Small Amounts of Marijuana

Signing the legislation allows police to better prioritize law enforcement resources to fight violent crime, property crime.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller today signed a bill passed by City Council to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana under municipal law.

The bill, sponsored by City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton, was passed by City Council on Monday, April 2, 2018. The legislation replaces the City’s current criminal penalty of fines and jail time for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana with a $25 civil fine. Marijuana possession remains a criminal offense under state and federal law.

“Removing the criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana will free up precious resources for law enforcement, who have plenty on their plate already,” stated Mayor Keller. “We’re facing real challenges in Albuquerque and this is a step in the right direction to allow our officers the flexibility to better prioritize their time tackling violent crime and property crime in our city.”

Chief of Police Michael Geier added, “This new legislation allows officers to focus on violent crime, property crime and drunk driving. It’s important for the public to be aware that this does not change state or federal law and officers will still have a choice to pursue criminal charges when appropriate.”