The Santa Fe clerk’s office validated more than 3,500 of 7,000 signatures turned in by Reducing Marijuana Penalties in an effort to put the question on the November ballot.
The effort requires 5,673 signatures for the question to go to voters. With 3,569 valid signatures, the group is now more than halfway to its goal.
The signatures themselves were turned in over a week ago.
Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico and Emily Kaltenbach of Drug Policy Alliance are the heads of the two groups that are spearheading the push to lessen penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Santa Fe. Each expressed optimism that they will reach the goal.
“The sheer number of supporters who signed in the first two weeks shows how popular this measure is in Santa Fe,” Kaltenbach said in a statement. “The first batch did not quite meet the goal and we are still well within the 90-day period to collect.
“We got 7,000 in [two] weeks,” Davis told NM Telegram in a text message. “We’ve been collecting this whole time and will be fine.”
It is unclear if the effort will be able to make the November ballot as the groups have hoped. There is a city council meeting on Wednesday with the issue on the agenda.
The question would ask Santa Fe voters to approve reduction of penalties for the possession of an ounce or less or marijuana to a $25 fine, with no jail time. Currently, fines are from $50 to $100 and can include up to 15 days in jail.
Municipalities and even states around the country have decriminalized or reduced penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in recent years. This doesn’t count Washington and Colorado, each of which voted to legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana.
There is also an effort for a similar reduction in penalties in Albuquerque. Signatures are currently being gathered there as well.
Among some, there are hopes that the ballot initiatives will help Democrats if they are on the November ballot.
Photo Credit: Donny Johnson/Flickr