SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- The Santa Fe City Council has voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
 
City officials said in a news release that the council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to approve the pot ordinance
 
The measure makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25. It had been a criminal misdemeanor.
 
Activists had submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on the matter.
 
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that with approval, the council hoped to avoid the costs of a vote and the uncertainty of the question even making the November ballot.
 
The newspaper says the vote makes Santa Fe the first city in the state to decriminalize pot.