New Mexico to decriminalize marijuana

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamCuomo to serve as National Association of Governors chair Biden: I'll have a running mate picked next week The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Angie Craig says we need an equitable distribution plan for an eventual vaccine that reaches all communities; Moderna vaccine enters phase 3 trial in US today MORE (D) this week signed legislation that will decriminalize marijuana. 

If a person is caught with less than a half-ounce of marijuana, they will receive a $50 fine and a civil, not criminal, citation, Albuquerque TV station KRQE reported Thursday. Possession of drug paraphernalia will also be a civil, not criminal offense, under the new bill. 


This makes New Mexico the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana. The law, signed Wednesday, will reportedly go into effect July 1. 

Under the law, a person in possession of a large amount of the drug can still face felony charges. 

The New Mexico House passed a bill to legalize marijuana use earlier this year that did not make it to the governor's desk. Grisham supported legalizing recreational cannabis during her campaign and said the issue would return to the state's legislative agenda in 2020, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Marijuana Policy Project, a group that supports marijuana legalization, celebrated the signed bill on Twitter. 

"New Mexico just took an important step forward toward more humane marijuana policies," said the groups's director of state policies Karen O'Keefe in a Twitter statement. "It will no longer brand cannabis consumers criminals or threaten them with jail time for simple possession."