New Mexico is one step closer to establishing sanctioned, legal areas for medical cannabis patients to use their medicine.
The Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program held a public hearing Thursday to hear comments from the public regarding department rule changes. Those changes include higher testing standards for cannabis producers and manufacturers, reciprocity for medical cannabis patients already enrolled in a medical program in another state and consumption areas.
Most comments from the public were about the testing standards, but some medical cannabis patients said they would like to see more leniency on who can open a consumption area and where they can open it.
Erica Rowland, a founding member of the Albuquerque-based cannabis producer Seven Clover, said the opportunity to open a consumption area should not be limited to those who already produced the cannabis.
“Consumption areas should not be limited to [Licensed Non Profit Producers],” Rowland said.
But because the state’s cannabis law is specifically written and leaves little room for interpretation, the Legislature would need to act to change consumption area requirements. After changes made during the 2019 legislative session, the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act allows for consumption areas, but requires that they are owned and operated by a Licensed Non Profit Producer, effectively barring someone from starting a new business solely for cannabis consumption.
The statute, not the proposed rule change, also requires that anyone consuming cannabis at a consumption area have a safe ride home. It’s still unclear who would be held liable for someone who leaves a consumption area and drives themselves.
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) announced more possible emission violations produced by oil and gas operations around the state. The department said it acquired video footage collected by citizens using forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras documenting methane and other air contaminants. NMED believes the emissions depicted in the video footage are “potential violations of existing state permits or regulations,” the department said in a statement. RELATED: NMED issues first round of violation notices for methane emissions in Permian Basin
NMED is sending written notices to oil and gas operators about the emissions. Oil and gas producers will have 14 days to correct the issues.
Amid a Permian Basin oil and gas boom, conservation advocates worry the current levels of industry activity occurring on federally-managed lands in southeast New Mexico are unsustainable, damaging to the land, reducing habitat for wildlife and further stressing populations of fauna that are struggling against a changing climate. A 2018 policy change drastically increased the frequency of oil and gas lease sales in the state, propelling the Carlsbad Field Office, which oversees management of BLM land in portions of the Permian Basin, to become one of the busiest BLM field offices in the country. The Carlsbad office is also in the midst of a resource management program (RMP) revision that began in 2010, updating the 1988 RMP that outlines, among other things, where oil and gas leases can be sold. Conservation groups such as the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance have nominated several areas for federal protection against oil and gas development. And the state’s Game and Fish Department has identified a number of important wildlife migration corridors in the Permian Basin for protections from oil and gas activity.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. After a ProPublica investigation into the death of a teenager in Border Patrol custody, House Democrats are ramping up pressure on the Trump administration to explain how six migrant children died after entering the U.S.
“I find it appalling that (Customs and Border Protection) has still not taken responsibility for the deaths of children in their care,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Thompson said that while some of the children’s deaths may not have been preventable, Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that first deals with children who cross the border, seems “all too quick to pat themselves on the back for their handling of children last year. These deaths happened under their watch.
SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is two weeks away from her second legislative session, and she’s got a lot more on her mind than passing a budget. In a wide-ranging conversation with Searchlight New Mexico on Jan. 6, the governor previewed her plans to reduce violent crime through new public safety legislation. She addressed the need for a diverse economy that’s less dependent on oil and gas revenues. This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission.
Located just a half-mile from the Village of San Mateo, Mount Taylor can be seen rising from the San Mateo mountains 100 miles in any direction. The mountain, whose peak stretches nearly 12,000 feet upward, sits east of Grants and has long been considered a place of cultural and spiritual significance. Mount Taylor is a pilgrimage destination for at least 30 indigenous communities, including the Navajo Nation, the Hopi and Zuni peoples, and the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. The mountain is one of the four sacred mountains that make up the boundaries of the Dinétah land. It holds special significance for the Acoma people, where streams on the mountain feed into the Rio San Jose, one of the pueblo’s primary water sources.
But Mount Taylor also sits atop one of the country’s largest uranium deposits, and was mined for decades.