There could be more peace of mind for people in Albuquerque who don’t qualify for the state’s medical cannabis program if Mayor Tim Keller signs a measure city councilors passed on Monday. It would decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Not everyone who benefits from using medical cannabis has a qualifying condition in the state’s eyes, so lots of folks get the medication illegally.
Jason Barker says decriminalizing cannabis would especially help people with developmental disabilities who don’t qualify for a medical card. He’s with LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico which advocates for medical cannabis patients.
"That would alleviate a great deal of stress for individuals with developmental disabilities," Barker said. "They’ve got some serious handicaps and they’re getting benefits from cannabis."
Right now, getting caught for the first time with an ounce or less of cannabis in Albuquerque could lead to a $50 fine and a couple of weeks in jail. Under the measure, it'd be just a $25 fine.
Mayor Keller has expressed support for decriminalization in the past but his spokeswoman wouldn’t say whether he’d sign the measure.
KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Con Alma Health Foundation.