Monday, March 11, 2013

House Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Rep. Moe Maestas mentioned this work of
art during discussion of HB 465.
Adults possessing less than eight ounces of marijuana in New Mexico would no longer receive any jail time under a bill passed this afternoon by the House.

The House voted 37-33 in favor of House Bill 465, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane, D-Albuquerque. The bill would reduce penalities for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while eliminating the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.

Two Republicans, House GOP Whip Nate Gentry and Rep. Terry McMillan of Las Cruces, joined 35 Democrats to vote in favor of the bill. Three Democrats, Debbie Rodella of Espanola, Donna Irwin of Deming and Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint, voted with 31 Republicans against it.

But, as the governor of Colorado said last November when voters decided to legalize marijuana, don't break out the Cheetos yet. The bill now goes to the Senate, which has only four and a half more days to act on it. And even if it passes the Senate, Gov. Susana Martinez is opposed to it and likely would veto.

More in tomorrow's New Mexican.

UPDATED: 540 p.m. The first version of this post said only two Dems voted no. I failed to include Rep. Debbie Rodella of Espanola. That's been corrected in the text.