NM legislators seek missing data about marijuana incarcerations | KOB 4
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NM legislators seek missing data about marijuana incarcerations

Ryan Laughlin
July 15, 2019 05:29 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico state leaders are preparing to legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico. There's now a working group taking a look at all the issues – but New Mexico legislators are looking for some data that is missing. 

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Legislators want to know how many people are locked up for marijuana offenses. They said getting data has been difficult in the past. 

"I've been trying to get an answer from the previous administration for about a year and a half and I could never get it," Sen. Jacob Candelaria said. "Of the prison population, let's say today, of everybody in our state prisons, what's the number of inmates who are incarcerated in a state facility on a sentence involving marijuana?" 

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, who leads the Cannabis Legalization Working Group, said the state wants those numbers for the same reason Albuquerque did when the city decriminalized marijuana. 

"We were able to show that we arrested 100 people for petty marijuana offenses that ultimately didn't result in very much, but spent a lot of public money," Davis said. "And we've been able to reinvest that into other priorities."

The New Mexico Corrections Department said they have around 7,000 people locked up right now, but they don't know how many of them are for marijuana. 

"We want that data, and quite frankly, we can't make those decisions without it," Davis said. 

People locked up for marijuana offenses would not be automatically absolved if the state made marijuana legal. There is an expungement process that went into effect this year for people to clear felonies from their record. 

As far as the number of people locked up for marijuana offenses, the Department of Corrections told KOB 4 they're working on it. They said they will have to go through each inmate one by one before they know. 

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Ryan Laughlin

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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