Bernalillo County voters overwhelmingly called for reduced criminal penalties for marijuana possession Tuesday night.
The marijuana decriminalization question is non-binding and won’t change the law. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd gathered to watch the election results last night.
ProgressNow Director Pat Davis, who spearheaded initiatives in both Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties, says this is a first step towards big changes in New Mexico’s drug policy.
“It’s nonbinding, so it’s a little backwards,” Davis said. “Usually what happens is we elect the legislators and they go write the laws, in this case the people are writing the laws and asking the legislators to put them in to practice. We have councilors in the city of Albuquerque who have promised that if voters said yes they would pass this ordinance, and legislators in the house and the senate who said if voters said yes they would sponsor this in the legislature.”
Santa Fe County voters passed a similar non-binding decriminalization question as well. That comes after the Santa Fe City Council changed their ordinances to make having an ounce or less of pot only a civil infraction punishable by a $25 fine.