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Proposed bill reducing marijuana possession penalties in New Mexico heard by legislative committee

Monday, December 3, 2012 - 10:01pm

A proposed bill that would reduce penalties for adults in possession of marijuana in New Mexico was heard before a committee last Thursday.

The bill was presented to an interim committee for feedback that included a change in age and distribution.

"Law enforcement is stretched thin and we should be supporting our officers out on the street so they can address more serious crime," said New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance Director Emily Kaltenbach.

The alliance said that by reducing arrests the state would also save money.

"We'll be brining costs of how much of our law enforcement resources it takes to arrest and prosecute people for low amounts of marijuana," Kaltenbach said.

The New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance is pushing for a bill similar to laws passed in Washington and Colorado last month.

The Drug Policy Alliance is proposing legislation that would reduce the penalty of marijuana possession of up to one ounce to no penalty.    

Possession of two to eight ounces would be reduced from a misdemeanor to a fine.

The Alliance estimates more than 2,000 people in New Mexico were arrested in 2010 for minor drug possession.

They said Dona Ana County had 28 percent of those arrests.

The bill is currently not sponsored by any state legislators.

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