SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe City Council has voted to decriminalize marijuana, making the city the first in New Mexico to make possession of small amounts of pot a civil infraction.
The council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to make possession of an ounce or less punishable by a fine of no more than $25. Previously, it was a criminal misdemeanor.
Activists had submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on the matter.
By approving the matter outright, the council hoped to avoid the costs of a vote and the uncertainty of the question even making the November ballot.
Gov. Susana Martinez has said she opposes efforts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to reduce marijuana possession penalties, and that she doubts a municipality can decriminalize pot without legislative action.