By Patrick Hayes
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Marijuana penalties in parts of New Mexico could become more lenient. The city clerk in Santa Fe says a petition that would reduce the penalties for low-level drug offenders has enough valid signatures to move forward.
In New Mexico, an ounce of marijuana can get you 15 days in jail and a $100 fine. The proposal, if adopted, will eliminate jail time for marijuana-related crimes committed in Santa Fe and reduce the fine to just $25.
State Rep. Bill McCamley represents Las Cruces and thinks it should be taken a step further. He said he thinks the plant should be legalized.
“People continue to buy marijuana,” said McCamley. “We’re basically funding drug cartels in Mexico and Central America, so it would be a smart public policy decision for those of us in government to look at new ways of doing drug reform.”
If the Santa Fe City Council doesn’t adopt the proposal, it will go to voters in the November general election.
That will be the first time in New Mexico history that residents will get to vote on marijuana reform.
In 2013, the Las Cruces Police Department and Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office issued about 1,000 marijuana-related citations.
The Las Cruces Police Department groups marijuana-related drug busts with cocaine, heroin and other drug-related charges, but an LCPD spokesperson told us that a majority of the 429 citations were marijuana-related.