ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With recreational cannabis now in New Mexico, cities across the state are adjusting their local laws, including in Albuquerque. The city is working on amending or repealing current ordinances that criminalize marijuana now that recreational cannabis is legal.
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“Our ordinances in many areas respond to what state and federal activities are,” said District Two Albuquerque City Councilor, Isaac Benton. “They were misdemeanor type issues that we had as our policy and need to adjust accordingly.”
Councilor Benton is sponsoring three bills changing local cannabis ordinances. The first one amends the Albuquerque Clean Indoor Air Act, which only regulates tobacco, to include cannabis. It bans cannabis from being smoked at places like the Albuquerque Biopark and on public transit.
The second bill calls for the city’s Marijuana Possession Ordinance, which makes it illegal to have marijuana, repealed completely. However, under the new state law, it’s still illegal for someone to have more than two ounces on them. KRQE News 13 asked Councilor Benton if there will be a new local ordinance to reflect that.
“It’s not necessary for us to do that. we’re still tasked with enforcing state ordinances,” said Councilor Benton. Right now, Albuquerque’s criminal code makes it illegal to make or deliver drug paraphernalia, including materials used to consume cannabis. Councilor Benton is also asking to remove references of cannabis paraphernalia from the criminal code.
The three bills to change the ordinances were introduced to city council on Monday and will now work their way through the committee process. In June, city council shot downzoning proposals that would’ve kept recreational cannabis businesses from setting up shop on main streets like Central and near-religious institutions. However, it did approve a moratorium on permits for recreational cannabis businesses for Old Town.