Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is punishable in New Mexico by up to 15 days in jail and a $100 fine. A second offense of the same type (possession of an ounce or less) is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Anyone caught selling any amount of cannabis in New Mexico can be punished by at least up to 1.5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. A second offense selling cannabis would double the jail sentence (if under 100 lbs).
Cultivating any amount of cannabis in New Mexico is a felony, punishable by up to 9 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Getting caught with cannabis in New Mexico is no joke. One Senator in New Mexico’s Legislature has been trying to get his state on the right side of history but has yet to succeed. New Mexico Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) has previously introduced legalization legislation, but unfortunately, his efforts have not gained enough traction. Senator Ortiz y Pino is ramping up his efforts for 2018. Per KRQE:
During the 2017 Legislative Session, Ortiz y Pino’s resolution was tabled in committee when two Democrats expressed opposition. Both said they knew people with drug problems, but Sen. Ortiz y Pino says his goal is not to enable drug addicts.
“Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t make it more available. It’s already available. Any high school kid worth their salt can find marijuana within a half-hour,” he said.
He’s determined to persuade other lawmakers to get on board this year. He just needs a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House to get the measure on the ballot for voters to decide. The governor would not be involved.
This approach would be very rational, and New Mexico lawmakers should get on board. A question would essentially be put to New Mexico voters to decide if they want to legalize cannabis. If the answer to that question is yes, New Mexico’s Legislature could put a framework in place. Of course, it would be great if New Mexico voters could just decide on a comprehensive law immediately that gets enacted immediately after approval, but making laws is never an easy process, especially when it comes to cannabis.
If Senator Ortiz y Pino is successful in his mission to put legalization on the ballot in New Mexico in November 2018 and it wins, it sounds like he expects regulation bills to be passed in 2019 which is when cannabis would be truly legalized in New Mexico. If you live in New Mexico, contact your legislators and urge them to support legalization in New Mexico. Share studies and data that show that teen use has not increased in legal states and that cannabis has the ability to reduce opioid use and use of other harmful substances.