Cannabis Decriminalization Goes Into Effect In New Mexico

The possession of small amounts of cannabis is no longer a criminal offense in New Mexico as a new marijuana decriminalization law that was signed by the governor in the Spring went into effect on July 1.

In April, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB323, a cannabis decriminalization bill which passed the House 44-20 and the Senate with a 30-8 vote.

Under the new law, a person caught with up to one-half ounce of cannabis will be issued a penalty assessment and a $50 fine.

Possession of up to a full ounce is now considered a petty misdemeanor and comes with a fine of up to $100 and up to fifteen days in jail for first-time offenses.

But the New Mexico cannabis train isn’t going to be staying at decriminalization station for long as Governor Grisham plans to begin working toward bringing adult-use marijuana to the state.

Grisham, who incorporated cannabis legalization as a platform during her campaign, plans to bring the issue into the 2020 legislative season.

“I want New Mexico’s introduction and management of recreational cannabis to be the envy of the country,” said Grisham in a statement. “We can and will incorporate lessons learned from other states so that New Mexico provides for a well-regulated industry that, crucially, does not infringe on or harm our expanding medical cannabis program, upon which so many New Mexicans rely.”

Grisham announced on Friday that she is assembling the Cannabis Legalization Working Group to study legalization efforts in other states to help ensure that New Mexico implements safe legalization policies.

Governor Grisham says that the group will answer questions about how legalization can work best for New Mexico and incorporate public safety concerns, workplace regulations, and labeling requirements to help prevent underage consumption.