Members of the New Mexico House and Senate gave their final approval today to two separate measures amending the state’s marijuana laws. The first legalizes and regulates marijuana possession, production, and sales for adults. The second facilitates the automatic review and expungement of the records of those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.
Lawmakers advanced both measures during a special legislative session demanded by Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been a vocal proponent of the reforms.
Commenting on the bills’ passage, NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a historic day for New Mexico! These important policy changes will ensure that consumers going forward will no longer suffer criminal arrest and prosecution, while also remedying past injustices caused by the drug war. I commend lawmakers for working together to craft legislation that prioritizes social justice and inclusion. Passage of this legislation will ensure that minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, are no longer saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.”
NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. They are the third state so far this year that has approved legalization via the legislative process and we expect several more will follow suit in a short period of time. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than currently legal alcohol and tobacco. Thankfully lawmakers at the state level are finally implementing the will of their constituents and, by doing so, they are applying further pressure on the federal government to finally deschedule marijuana nationally and end this ongoing tension between state and federal policies.”
The adult-use measure (House Bill 2) permits those ages 21 and older to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. It also permits adults to home-cultivate up to six mature plants for their own personal use.
The expungement measure (Senate Bill 2) stipulates that those with past convictions for offenses made legal under this act are eligible for automatic expungement of their records. Those currently incarcerated for such offenses are eligible for a dismissal of their sentence.
Both bills now await action from the Governor, who is anticipated to sign both measures into law imminently. Earlier this week, she signed legislation into law eliminating fines for the possession of cannabis by a minor and modifying the requirement for community service to a maximum of 48 hours.