Santa Fe – Last night, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate SB 323 (sponsored by Senator Joseph Cervantes), decriminalizing 1/2 an ounce or less of marijuana and possession of any drug paraphernalia, not just paraphernalia associated with marijuana use. New Mexico becomes the first state to repeal criminal penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Statement from Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance:
“Ending the criminalization of marijuana in New Mexico is a strong step toward taxing and regulating marijuana for adults and represents bipartisan support on an issue that was untouchable a few years ago. It gives us confidence that New Mexico will legalize marijuana in the coming years, finally ending the havoc criminalization has wreaked on black, brown and Native communities.
“This new law ensures that until we do legalize, people will not have their lives destroyed by being criminalized and stigmatized for possessing marijuana for their personal use. Decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana and all drug paraphernalia will improve lives, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce the burden on law enforcement resources.
“This law is also historic as it represents the first time a state has repealed criminal penalties for drug paraphernalia. Decriminalizing drug paraphernalia will not only save taxpayers money and free up law enforcement resources – it will prioritize health and safety over punishment and begin to reduce the stigma associated with problematic drug use. Since many items that are characterized as paraphernalia have multiple uses, these laws have been subject to abuse, allowing police to be very selective in their enforcement – disproportionately harming black, brown and Native communities.
“This historic action is an important step towards decriminalizing all drug possession so that people can finally come out of the shadows and get the help they need.”