Santa Fe passes ordinance reducing marijuana possession penalties


Santa Fe City Hall (via Google maps)

The Santa Fe City Council voted Wednesday to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in a 5 to 4 vote.

The vote came a day after the Santa Fe County Commission voted to put a marijuana decriminalization question on the ballot in November, a move pushed by Progress Now and Drug Policy Alliance in hopes of attracting more younger, and hopefully more Democratic, voters to the polls.

“The two groups that brought it forward were looking for a public vote,” Santa Fe councilor Patti Bushee told The Post. “They were looking to get out the younger voters.”

The measure, however, received pushback from Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who said she was unsure whether there would be room on the ballot for the question, Bushee said.

“She was setting up an obstacle course,” Bushee said. “We didn’t want to wait and see what the Republican secretary of state was going to try to do to derail us.”

Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar told the county, however, she thought adding an additional question to the ballot would be “doable,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Under the ordinance, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by up to $25.

“People got the end result they wanted, but it wasn’t the exact process they wanted,” said councilor Signe Lindell, who voted in favor of the ordinance.

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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