On Monday, cannabis officially become decriminalized in New Mexico.
Some three months after legislation was approved by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) marijuana possession officially became decriminalized in the state this week. Individuals caught with as much as a half ounce of cannabis will now receive a $50 fine as opposed to jail time.
While the policy update is certainly a welcome change, it comes as a somewhat disappointing half-measure following New Mexico's failed attempt to fully legalize recreational cannabis earlier this year. However, Grisham has said legalization is still a top priority for her—legalization was part of her platform when she ran for governor last year—and she has announced the establishment of a working group to look at to how to proceed with legalization next year.
"I want New Mexico's introduction and management of recreational cannabis to be the envy of the country," Grisham said when the plan was announced last week. "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."
The situation in New Mexico closely resembles what has happened in New York in past weeks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo similarly campaigned on cannabis legalization but was unable to push it through this year. However lawmakers in NY did manage to further decriminalize cannabis in the state.
The policy shift also follows the lead of New Mexico's largest city, Albuquerque, which moved to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis last April.
h/t Marijuana Moment