December 11, 2015

2015 Recap: May sees medical marijuana news, Lyft leaves the state

NM Political Report looked at the evolution of the state medical marijuana program and how some were positioning themselves to cash in. A judge ruled that the state cannot force people who qualify for medical marijuana to try other “standard” treatments before they use prescribed marijuana.

Note: Each weekday from here through December 22, we will be looking back at the top stories from each month here at NM Political Report. These could be the most-read stories, some interesting stories that didn’t get much attention or just plain important stories.

Previous recaps: January. February. March. April.

An Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In California To Appear On Nov. BallotMeanwhile, many were happy with positive revenue projections, but NM Political Report looked into it and found that the projections weren’t so cut and dried. A national study found that state revenue forecasting errors were growing nationwide.

The Santolina development train continued to slowly grind towards approval, despite shouts of “Shame!” in protest. An Albuquerque city councilor said he would challenge the plan, but supporters of the development insisted he had no say in the issue, since it was a county issue.

The Uber/Lyft regulation battle continued. The biggest news came when Lyft said the service would no longer operate in the state. Uber, meanwhile, pushed back and asked for reconsideration from the PRC on the regulations that the commission passed in April.

Democrats said they agreed to a compromise on capital outlay—only for the Speaker of the House, a Republican, to say there was no deal. Senate Finance Committee chairman John Arthur Smith was not optimistic that a capital outlay deal would come together in time.

The Albuquerque Police Department’s use of federal training—which critics said was not appropriate—caught the eye of the U.S. Department of Justice who said they would look into it. It was only one piece of the problems APD faced in the month.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg wrote a letter to Attorney General Hector Balderas about possible police training problems. The release of the city of Albuquerque’s audit over TASER purchases rife with conflicts of interest also led to the troubled department’s woes; losing an open records lawsuit over the department’s weapons inventory and facing a lawsuit from a former trainer over alleged retaliation didn’t help. The head of the Albuquerque police academy also stepped down.

Brandenburg received some good news when Balderas said he would not file charges of bribery or intimidation against her; the controversial case had APD investigate Brandenburg even as she charged two police officers on murder charges.

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina headlined a state Republican Party fundraiser and went after Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

State Auditor Tim Keller faced criticism from the Republican Party of New Mexico for missing a deadline on an Inspection of Public Records Act request.

Mayor Richard Berry announced what may be his signature initiative: A plan to curb panhandling.

Albuquerque city council president Rey Garduno announced that he would not seek another term in the October elections, opening the door for a new councilor in the liberal-leaning district.

We also reported that despite promising short-term drought information, New Mexico still wasn’t out of the woods according to Phil King of New Mexico State University.