Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed the cannabis decriminalization bill, which decreases penalties for possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine. Penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia are also reduced under the legislation.
Lawmakers sent the bill to Grisham's desk last month.
A fiscal impact report prepared by legislative staffers says that the new law "could have a positive fiscal impact on the courts, prosecutors, and public defenders; workloads could be lessened by reducing the charges of possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce and use or possession of drug paraphernalia to penalty assessments."
Marijuana policy reform advocates are pleased that people caught possessing small amounts of cannabis will no longer be met with potential time behind bars, but they are disappointed that the legislature failed to pass broader legislation to end prohibition altogether.