Marijuana, social services tax unlikely for Nov. ballot; other issues rebundled

Updated: 09/04/2014 8:41 AM | Created: 09/03/2014 9:28 PM
By: Blair Miller,

ALBUQUERQUE -- The push to get marijuana decriminalization and a tax increase for social services on the November ballot took another hit Wednesday when the Albuquerque City Council was unable to get enough votes to put the items on Wednesday's agenda, something that would have been necessary for the council to vote in time to possibly put the issues on the ballot.

The council voted 5-3 along party lines, with Democrats in the majority, to put the measures up for immediate action, but needed six votes for that to happen.

Republican Brad Winter, the new interim APS Superintendent, was absent for the vote.

Mayor Richard Berry vetoed the marijuana and tax measures on Friday, when they were bundled with several other measures.

The proposal, if passed, would have made marijuana possession of an ounce or less a civil infraction, which comes with a fine of no more than $25.

Santa Fe passed a similar measure outright August 27. The city's new law, which makes prosecuting possession of under an ounce of marijuana the lowest priority for police officers, goes into effect September 10.

The City Council did approve a $1.83 million contract for a "business accelerator" called ABQid, which the city hopes will help foster new entrepreneurs and economic development. ABQid is using at least $2 million in private funding to help support the contract.

The City Council also sent a re-bundled proposition dealing with grants, bonds, and one measure which would give the council power to approve police and fire chiefs before they are hired to the mayor for him to approve for November's ballot, just a week after he vetoed all measures across the board.

Bernalillo County commissioners will now need to decide if there is room for all three measures on the November ballot. The ballot is due on Sept. 9.

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