New Mexico reduces penalties for marijuana possession

April 4, 2019
1 of 2
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, seated, with pen, signs legislation to raise teacher salaries and increase annual spending on public schools by almost a half-billion dollars on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at Salazar Elementary School in Santa Fe, N.M. State lawmakers are contending with a court order to increase funding for at-risk students. New Mexico is one of several states where parents have turned to the judiciary to address frustrations over state budget priorities and the quality of education. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A bill that reduces penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia has been signed by the governor of New Mexico.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation Wednesday that makes the possession of up to a half-ounce (12 grams) of marijuana a petty misdemeanor.

That would translate into a $50 fine on first offense. The same penalties will apply to possession of drug paraphernalia.

The provisions go into effect July 1.

Possession of large quantities of marijuana can still result in felony charges.

A proposal to legalized recreational marijuana sales and use across New Mexico received House approval but stalled in the state Senate without a floor vote.

Lawmakers also balked at decriminalizing possession of small quantities of other illicit drugs that can result in jail sentences.