santa fe — Colorado did it, so did the state of Washington - will New Mexico be the next state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
The state legislature's Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee heard testimony at the state capitol Thursday about a bill that will be o the table when the legislature convenes in January.
A draft proposal that will be introduced then would impose no penalty for possession for an ounce or less of marijuana.
For possession of one to eight ounces there would be a civil - not criminal - monetary fine. Possession of any amount over eight ounces would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
"People in Colorado have already shown that the general population are way ahead of the politicians," said Sen. Cisco McSorley (D-Albuquerque). "The general population is sick and tired of this wasteful federal program we call the 'War on Drugs.'"
Lawmakers on the committee had a lot of questions about conflicts with federal law which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 prohibited narcotic.
New Mexico and 17 other states have already legalized medical marijuana .