ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months into recreational cannabis being legal in New Mexico, communities are still ironing out the rules around it. Albuquerque city councilors are considering multiple bills about using pot in public.
There are two bills surrounding banning pot in public – but they may have different ideas on what the punishment should be for people who violate that ban.
City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn is introducing a bill that aims to not criminalize people caught smoking pot in public. She says the bill would be in line with the state’s law of no public consumption of recreational cannabis and violating the ban would be a civil penalty.
“I just don’t want us to be re-criminalizing cannabis and having unfair implementation of that law across our city. There is a fine of $50 in the state law, and I think we should keep that level as a civil penalty here in our city laws as well,” said Councilor Fiebelkorn.
According to 311, there have only been 10 calls for public cannabis smoking over the past five years and they haven’t gotten a single complaint since recreational cannabis became legal. Fiebelkorn says public cannabis smoking is not a huge problem in Albuquerque and does not need to be criminalized.
Now there is another bill already in committee and sponsored by councilors Trudy Jones and Louie Sanchez. Their bill also bans using cannabis in any public place in Albuquerque but does not lay out what the penalties would be for people who violate that ban.
News 13 reached out to both councilors but has not heard back.
A third bill being talked about in the city council is sponsored by Councilor Isaac Benton. It aims to extend the ban on new cannabis-related businesses in historic Old Town until October that ban currently expires next month.
It cites the city is still considering permanent regulations on cannabis in Old Town.