ABQ city councilors look to ban public pot smoking


UPDATE: Albuquerque City Council is updating a city ordinance that would ban smoking cannabis in most public areas to be in compliance with state law.

There are no laws currently banning smoking cannabis in public, but the city council is looking to revise the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance—a law that bans smoking in certain areas like restaurants and bars. The new amendment would ban smoking pot on streets, sidewalks, bus stops and common areas of apartments as well as anywhere that tobacco smoke is banned. Violators would be fined up to $100 for a first violation and $200 for a second.

Police and firefighters would be in charge of enforcing the law but, according to KRQE, many are skeptical that officers will be able to enforce the law. Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association President Shaun Willoughby told reporters, “This is going to set an unrealistic expectation on law enforcement agencies throughout the state to try to regulate this law and we do not possess the manpower, the training and the reinforcements to get it done.”

Last year the city reportedly saw a record-breaking 109 homicides. According to law enforcement agencies, Albuquerque had 111 violent crimes per 10,000 people in the first three-quarters of 2021.

Lawmakers Accept, Then Reject Addiction Treatment Funding

Last week the New Mexico Senate voted to use tax dollars from adult-use cannabis sales to fund drug addiction treatment programs before reversing the decision soon after.

An amendment to the anti-crime bill that would have funneled 10 percent of the state’s revenue from cannabis sales tax into addiction treatment programs received near-unanimous support from the state’s Senate Financing Committee last week. Lawmakers voted 10 to 1 in favor of the amendment.

According to Source NM, the anti-crime bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces), said the amendment could make the bill subject to a line-item veto from the governor. When asked if the amendment was important enough to endanger the whole bill, the amendment’s sponsor Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) said it was “one of the most important parts” of the bill and said it was worth the risk.

Following an unofficial recess, the committee voted to approve a version of the bill that did not include the amendment.

Italian Court Blocks Cannabis Referendum

An Italian court has blocked a referendum that would have allowed voters to decide whether to legalize cannabis in the country.

In October Italian cannabis advocates turned a petition in to the Supreme Court of Cassation that was signed by 630,000 people. It called for legalizing marijuana and the cultivation of psychedelic plants. Last month a court validated the signatures, meaning the proposed referendum would be put on a ballot for voters to decide.

But last week the Italian Constitutional Court announced that the initiative did not meet constitutional standards and blocked the referendum. Advocates told reporters that they will continue to fight for legalization.