- Associated Press - Thursday, April 12, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Possession of small amounts of marijuana will no longer be a criminal offense in New Mexico’s largest city.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed legislation Thursday amending the city’s criminal code, making low-level pot possession of an ounce (28 grams) or less without a valid medical marijuana referral a citable offense.

Instead of jail time and a criminal penalty fee, police would issue a $25 fine.

City officials say the new law will go into effect next week.

Albuquerque joins a growing list of U.S. municipalities that have similar measures in place, including Santa Fe.

City officials say law enforcement should be able to spend more time on violent crimes instead of minor marijuana offenses.

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