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Will New Mexico Lower Marijuana Penalties?

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Under a bill recently approved by the New Mexico State Senate, criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana would be replaced with a $50 fine. The Senate voted to replace penalties including possible jail time for low-level marijuana possession violations with a purely monetary penalty.  This comes on the heals of other proposed legislation regarding cannabis in New Mexico.

If this bill were to pass, possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana or drug paraphernalia would be handled much like a traffic ticket, with no court appearances unless the fine is challenged.  The passage of the bill through the Senate was only challenged by eight Republicans and one Democrat who voted against the bill. The bill proposal has now moved to the New Mexico House of Representatives.

According to the Associated Press, Democratic Senator Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces says the changes would free up resource for courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys to focus on pursuing violent crime cases amid a state budget crisis.

Even with only pending policy changes in the cannabis sector, the industry in New Mexico is already growing.  According to a recent article from MJ Biz Daily an international cannabis business partnership is coming to fruition between an Israeli medical marijuana firm and a New Mexico-based American medical marijuana company.

The result is the opening of a product manufacturing facility in a suburb north of Albuquerque.  Israel-based Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries announced last May that it was teaming up with Ultra Health, a licensed MMJ business in New Mexico. The companies revealed this week in a joint statement that the new facility, in Bernalillo, New Mexico, has begun production. The plant will focus on 18 smokeless MMJ products that are designed to be more scientifically precise for patients who are looking for reliable and repeatable dosages, the Post reported. The base of the product line is made in Israel and then shipped to the United States, and cannabis is added at the New Mexico facility.

TWB will be eager to hear the results of this bill as it moves through the rest of the legislature in New Mexico.

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