As of press time, the Reducing Marijuana Penalties initiative was on track to submit required signatures to launch a marijuana decriminalization ballot initiative in Santa Fe this fall.
Canvassers for the initiative, which was spearheaded in late May by Drug Police Alliance New Mexico and ProgressNow New Mexico, were in the midst of a final push for signatures along Cerrillos Road on Tuesday.
Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Emily Kaltenbach told SFR that the group had more than 7,000 signatures, besting the city requirement of 5,673.
Signatures must come from registered city voters, so canvassers were collecting more than the city’s minimum requirement just to be safe.
“We feel confident, and we’re just trying to collect as many as we can,” Kaltenbach says.
If approved, the ballot initiative would ask city voters to drop maximum punishment for people caught with one ounce of marijuana or less from potential jail time to a $25 fine for each violation. Canvassers made a self-imposed deadline of July 15 to give the city clerk and City Council enough time to get the initiative on the ballot during November’s general election.
The same organizers are pushing for a similar decriminalization ballot initiative in Albuquerque this year as well. There, organizers are giving themselves a little more time to turn in signatures to Albuquerque’s city clerk. Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow NM, says they’ll be canvassing at Route 66 Summerfest, which will be held on July 19 in the Duke City’s Nob Hill area.