- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two groups have started petition drives aimed at putting before voters measures that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession in New Mexico’s two largest cities.

The Drug Policy Alliance and Progress Now New Mexico say they have filed petitions with the city clerks in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and plan to collect the required signatures to have the measures considered.

Under the proposed ballot measures, a person caught with less than an ounce of marijuana would face a $25 fine under city code rather than a criminal charge and potential jail time.

The groups say reducing the penalties for low-level marijuana offenders offers a way to save communities and the state money. They say police officers would also have more time to focus on more serious offenses.

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