New Mexico’s marijuana decriminalization went into effect on July 1, 2019, about three months after the reform legislation was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Possession of up to a half-ounce, or 14 grams, of cannabis is no longer punishable by jail time. Instead, the offense carries a $50 fine. Penalties for possessing drug paraphernalia are also reduced.

This officially makes New Mexico the 24th state to approve marijuana decriminalization. Hawaii is expected to follow suit, with the governor confirming in early July 2019 that he wouldn’t veto a decriminalization bill that reduced penalties for possessing 3 grams or less of cannabis.

Though advocates applauded the reform, they’ve expressed disappointment that New Mexico wasn’t able to legalize marijuana this session — something Grisham campaigned on.

But the governor hasn’t given up on broader legalization. In early July 2019, she announced the formation of a working group that will be tasked with studying legal cannabis programs in other states and reporting back with recommendations on how New Mexico should approach legalization in 2020.

New York has experienced a similar situation in 2019. After lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on a legalization bill following months of negotiations, the legislature instead passed legislation expanding the state’s decriminalization policy, making possession of 2 ounces, or 56.7 grams, or less of cannabis punishable by a $200 fine with no jail time.

Illinois, by contrast, became the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adult use in June 2019, with the governor signing a wide-ranging bill that will also provide for mass expungements and establish programs meant to help individuals from communities disproportionately affected by prohibition to participate in the legal industry. That law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, a decriminalization bill that was approved by the Texas House of Representatives in April 2019 stalled and died in the state Senate.


Feature image: New Mexico becomes the 24th state to approve decriminalization. Pictured, the landscape in Abiquiú, New Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Joonyeop Baek on Unsplash)

This article was republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.





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