New Mexico

New Mexico: McDonalds Cannabis Billboard Near Colorado Border Goes Viral

Marijuana Is Safer Than McDonalds

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A cannabis billboard near Raton, New Mexico has a lot of people talking on the Internet. The billboard, which has since been taken down, stated, “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal,” and showed a Bueno green chile breakfast burrito.

The billboard, was for a McDonald's on Clayton Road in Raton, just off exit 451 of Canam Highway.

Melissa Grubelnik, the Tourism Coordinator of the Raton Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber “sees the humor” in the sign, considering the city’s proximity to Colorado. “We do not have a problem with it,” Grubelnik said. “We hope it encourages people to stop at our newly renovated McDonald’s.”

New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed her third marijuana-related bill this session, stopping a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical cannabis program. Last month she vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have allowed for industrial hemp production in compliance with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.

The legislation would have added 14 qualifying conditions to the medical cannabis program, including post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic pain. The law would have also permitted reciprocity in the program for non-residents. The measure would also allow medical marijuana patients to be eligible for organ transplants, an issue that has created controversy after a recent Maine medical marijuana patient was denied a kidney transplant because of his use of cannabis.

Martinez included a statement with the rejection of the medical marijuana reforms. In that message, she said it is the responsibility of the Department of Health and the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to add conditions to the qualifying conditions list and that adding conditions via legislative action “would eliminate an important responsibility of the Board.”

New Mexico: Bill Approved To Lower Marijuana Penalties

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill recently approved by the New Mexico State Senate would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a $50 fine if passed. The Senate voted to replace penalties which could include jail time for simple marijuana possession with a purely monetary penalty.

If the bill passes, possession of a half ounce of marijuana or less would be handled much like a traffic ticket with no court appearances required unless the fine is challenged. The passage of the bill through the Senate was only challenged by eight Republicans and one Democrat who voted against the bill. The proposed bill has now moved to the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Democratic Senator Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces told the Associated Press the changes would free up resources for courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys to focus on pursuing violent crime cases amid a state budget crisis.

New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico, has vetoed a bill that would have created a research program for industrial hemp.

The Democrat-sponsored bill was vetoed by the second-term Republican governor on Wednesday without comment.

The bill would have required the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to set up an industrial hemp research program for cultivation and marketing.

Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque has authored a more restrictive bill which is on its way to the governor's desk right now. McSorley says it addresses concerns raised by Martinez two years ago about potential conflicts with federal law and provides for police training.

Thirty-one states have authorized hemp research. The 2014 federal farm bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development.

New Mexico, Hawaii: States Pass Bills To Decriminalize Industrial Hemp

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Both New Mexico and Hawaii overwhelmingly passed bills earlier this month to decriminalize industrial hemp. Passage of the bills into law would set the stage for the people there to nullify federal prohibition of the plant.

Rep. Rick Little (R-Chaparral) introduced New Mexico's House Bill 166 (HB166) on Jan 18.

A coalition of eight Democrat representatives introduced Hawaii's House Bill 773 (HB773) on Jan. 20.

The new legislation will remove industrial hemp from each state's list of controlled substances. Both bills will require no license and will create no state regulatory structure. Industrial hemp would be treated like any other plant, such as corn, in both states. Residents of the states will now be able to start farming industrial hemp should they be willing to risk violating ongoing federal prohibition.

The New Mexico House passed HB166 by a 53-13 vote on Monday, February 18, and Hawaii's House Agricultural Committee passed HB773 by a 7-0 vote on February 8.

Minnesota: PTSD Added to List of Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Minnesota Department of Health is adding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of conditions that can qualify patients for medical marijuana.

Minnesota now joins New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis.

A large amount of research has led to the conclusion that medical marijuana can be useful for "innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders,” according to a government-funded study released in 2014.

Another study released in 2015 found that; “When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes…. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal.”

New Mexico: Pilot Arrested After Emergency Landing Leads To Big Marijuana Discovery

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A California pilot was arrested in New Mexico after mechanical problems forced him to make an emergency landing resulting in authorities finding nearly 118 pounds of marijuana in the small plane.

Roswell police say 37-year-old Michael Armando Teixeira, of Gilroy, is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on suspicion of distribution of controlled substances.

Teixeira made the emergency landing at the Roswell International Air Center last Friday night.

Federal Aviation Administration officials at the airport discovered the plane didn’t have a flight plan on file.

After detecting a marijuana odor, police obtained a search warrant which led to the discovery of 117.9 pounds of high-grade marijuana packaged in several large bags inside the plane.

Police say Teixeira is not the registered owner of the aircraft.

As of Tuesday, it was not known if he has a lawyer yet.

Utah: Poll Shows Strong Support For Asset Forfeiture Reform On Eve Of Primary

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One out of 11 Surveyed Utah Voters Report Having Property Taken by Police without Criminal Charge from Themselves or Someone They Know

Utah Voters Also Signal Support for Presidential Candidates Who Embrace Asset Forfeiture Reform

An overwhelming majority of registered Utah voters support civil asset forfeiture reform, according to a new poll released by Drug Policy Action. The poll was released the day before Utah’s primary election vote.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Utah registered voters, including 83 percent of all Republicans, think police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters polled, including 70 percent of Republicans, would be more likely to support a candidate for president who took the position that the government should not be able to take property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

Also, a high number of surveyed Utah voters (1 out of 11) reported that a police officer has taken property from them or someone they know without being charged with a crime. Most of these respondents said that property was taken from them during a traffic stop.

New Mexico: State Senate Votes No On Proposed Marijuana Legalization Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several states in 2016 are offering voters an opportunity to legalize marijuana, some for medical use, and some for recreational use. As of Sunday night, New Mexico was removed from that list of states when state Senators voted against the proposal.

All 18 Republicans and six Democrats opposed the measure in a 24-17 Senate vote. The proposal would have let voters decide whether to legalize marijuana for adults age 25 and over. The proposal would have also legalized hemp, well-known for its numerous commercial and industrial uses.

Although odds of the bill passing in New Mexico were considered long, the fact that 17 Senators voted for the bill is encouraging. Advocates of the proposed constitutional amendment plan to try for a new bill at the next opportunity.

New Mexico: Support For Taxing, Regulating Marijuana Reaches New High

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New polling data about New Mexico's voters' attitudes towards changes in marijuana policy will be released on Thursday during a press event at the State Capitol. The new data reflects the state’s shifting outlook on marijuana policy reform. Results show the majority of New Mexicans polled are in favor of reforming our current marijuana laws, according to activists.

This event will include remarks from State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino who has recently introduced Senate Joint Resolution 5 which proposes an amendment to New Mexico’s Constitution allowing for the possession and use of marijuana and hemp by adults. It also requires that revenues generated from sales and taxation be used for New Mexico’s public education needs, the Medicaid program or drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Brian Sanderoff, from Research and Polling, Inc., will present the January, 2016 polling results.

Who:
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino
Brian Sanderoff, Research and Polling, Inc.
Emily Kaltenbach, State Director, Drug Policy Alliance
What: Polling data release + press availability with legislators and drug policy reform advocates

Where: Room 326, State Capitol Bldg.

When: Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 10 a.m.

New Mexico: Albuquerque City Council Votes 5-4 To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

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Companion Resolution, Making Marijuana a Low Law Enforcement Priority Also Passes

Albuquerque city council members Monday night voted 5-4 on party lines in favor of Ordinance 15-60 to remove criminal sanctions pertaining to possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia from the city’s municipal codes and replace them with a $25 fine. The measure now heads to the Mayor who has the authority to veto the legislation.

A companion resolution, also voted on Monday night, that would make marijuana possession violations a low priority for the Albuquerque Police Department, passed 6-3 with Republican Councilor Brad Winter joining the Democrats in support.

"We are criminalizing people not only for the use [of marijuana], but for life," said Rey Garduño, president of the City Council and the legislation co-sponsor, in his opening remarks. "We shouldn't curtail them for such a minor infraction."

Last fall, Garduño sponsored a similar measure that also passed the council 5-4 on a party line vote. However, it was vetoed by Mayor Richard J. Berry.

Since then, Albuquerque residents voiced their support at the ballot box for decriminalizing marijuana. In November, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming support for marijuana decriminalization. Bernalillo County voted 60 percent and Santa Fe County voted 73 percent in favor of statewide decriminalization. More than 50 percent of Albuquerque voters in all nine city council districts voted to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Arizona: Cannabis Expo Offers Free Admission For Dispensary and Cultivation Owners In SW

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Regional dispensary and cultivation center owners will receive free admission to the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo (SWCCE) on October 27 and 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center, according to Rory Mendoza, executive director of the first-ever cannabis convention in Arizona.

The complimentary admission tickets are provided through a partnership with MJ Freeway and event organizers and must be reserved online at www.swccexpo.com by October 15. Licensed dispensary and cultivation center owners from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Southern California may qualify.

“Education and community are a cornerstone of our industry,” said Amy Poinsett, cofounder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "Conferences like the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo help ensure all regions have access to events that foster leadership, education and community-building.

"MJ Freeway gladly supports the advancement of the cannabis industry through our sponsorship of these types of events," Poinsett said. "The SWCCE is special because cannabis-business owners, the heart of the industry, receive free admission to the event."

MJ Freeway markets seed-to-sale tracking software, with patent-pending inventory control and grow management applications for cannabis businesses. The company provides technology that delivers solutions and compliance accountability for producers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers.

New Mexico: Dept. of Health Awards Medical Cannabis Software Contract

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The New Mexico Department of Health's Medical Cannabis Program has awarded BioTrackTHC™, a division of Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc., a contract for the provision and deployment of an integrated patient and provider tracking software application.

This makes BioTrackTHC the cannabis industry's first company with marijuana regulatory technology contracts in two states, according to a company press release, following the company's existing contract for the state of Washington's Marijuana Seed-to-Sale Traceability System.

"I commend the New Mexico Department of Health on its comprehensive RFP process in securing the right technology and team for the state's needs," said Steven Siegel, CEO, BioTrackTHC. "Our experience implementing compliance technology in this sector will serve the state and the public well in maintaining a reliable and efficient regulatory infrastructure."

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act to allow for the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system. In pursuit of its mission, the MCP issued an extensive RFP on July 22, 2014 for a software solution to maintain regulatory compliance.

After extensive proposal evaluations and live software demonstrations, BioTrackTHC achieved a marijuana industry first: back-to-back government contract wins.

New Mexico: Governor Signs Bill Outlawing Civil Asset Forfeiture, AKA 'Policing For Profit'

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New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez on Friday signed HB 560 into law, ending the practice of civil asset forfeiture in New Mexico. Civil asset forfeiture, also known as “policing for profit,” allows law enforcement officers to seize personal property without ever even charging — much less convicting — a person with a crime.

Property seized through this process often finds its way into the department’s own coffers. HB 560, introduced by NM Rep. Zachary Cook and passed unanimously in the Legislature, replaces civil asset forfeiture with criminal forfeiture, which requires a conviction of a person as a prerequisite to losing property tied to a crime.

The new law means that New Mexico now has the strongest protections against wrongful asset seizures in the country.

“This is a good day for the Bill of Rights,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “For years police could seize people’s cash, cars, and houses without even accusing anyone of a crime. Today, we have ended this unfair practice in New Mexico and replaced it with a model that is just and constitutional.”

“With this law, New Mexico leads the nation in protecting the property rights of innocent Americans,” said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation. “Convicted criminals will still see the fruits of their crime confiscated by the state, but innocent New Mexicans can now rest easy knowing that their property will never be seized by police without proper due process.”

U.S.: Former N.M. Gov. Gary Johnson Calls WA State Pot Rules 'Worst-Case Scenario'

GaryJohnsonSmilingPointingLiveFree[EddieMoore-AlbuquerqueJournal]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, now CEO of a marijuana company, on Sunday told an audience of cannabis industry representatives that voters, not politicians, are behind the legalization movement, and he called Washington state's troubled implementation of legalization Initiative 502 a "worst-case scenario."

Johnson, a vocal advocate of legalization and former Presidential candidate who plans to run again next year, gave the keynote speech at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. About 750 people attended the conference, according to organizers.

Johnson, CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a publicly traded company producing marijuana-infused products.

When it comes to Washington's botched implementation of flawed legalization Initiative 502, Johnson was very critical of the over-taxation of cannabis in that model.

"How are they going to regulate it and make it a legal product? They have screwed it up as bad as they possibly can," Johnson said. "They have taxed it to the level where if you are a prior user of marijuana, prior to it being legal in Washington, you are still consuming it on the black market because of how expensive it is. It's the worst-case scenario and they have it playing out in Washington state."

"Pay attention to how you are taxing it," Johnson said. "You are moving the entire industry from a black market.

New Mexico: State Senate Passes Historic Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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In a Bi-partisan Vote the New Mexico’s State Senate Passes Historic Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

SB 383 Reduces Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia

Over the weekend, making history, the New Mexico’s State Senate voted (21-20) to pass Senate Bill 383, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The final vote was bi-partisan with Republican Senator Lisa A. Torraco and Republican Senator John C. Ryan voting in support. Five of 19 Democrats (Munoz, Padilla, Clemente Sanchez, Papen, and Smith) voted against the bill . The bill now advances to the House.

The proposed legislation makes one ounce or less of marijuana and possession of any drug paraphernalia a penalty assessment with a fine of $50; a penalty assessment is not considered a criminal conviction. The bill also takes away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.

Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over 1 ounce and up to 8 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with large fines or possible jail time of up to a year. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2013 with bipartisan support.

New Mexico: Steep Hill Receives First Provisional Approval For Lab Cannabis Testing

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Steep Hill, which specializes in cannabis testing and analytics in the United States and internationally, has announced intends to open a full service medical cannabis quality assurance laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, bringing advanced scientific tools and methodology to the state, for regulatory oversight of cannabis.

Steep Hill is currently the only laboratory licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health to conduct potency and contaminant testing in order to meet the recently adopted regulatory requirements pertaining to cannabis safety for medical patients in New Mexico, according to a prepared statement from the company.

"We are excited to bring our entire suite of products to New Mexico, including our QuantaCann2™ - an advanced cloud-based potency monitoring system," said David Lampach, CEO and cofounder of Steep Hill. "This will enable the state to meet its THC and CBD testing requirements, while also providing regulators with a real time window into the marketplace."

The State of New Mexico requires regular testing be done in a Department of Health approved laboratory as the only acceptable method to determine the quality, purity and potency required for the sale of medical cannabis products.

For more information about cannabis testing, you can visit the Steep Hill website: http://steephill.com

About Steep Hill

New Mexico: Marijuana Legalization Resolution Passes Out Of Senate Rules Committee

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Public Opinion and Wasted Tax Dollars Push Legislator to Fix Broken Marijuana Policies

For the first time in history, a legislative committee on Thursday voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico. On a vote of 5-4, New Mexico State Senator Ortiz y Pino’s (D-12-Bernalillo) Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) passed the Senate Rules Committee.

SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana in New Mexico.

“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed.

"It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste," Kaltenbach said. "Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”

New Mexico: State Senator Introduces Bill To Reduce Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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New Mexico State Senator Joseph Cervantes, representing Dona Ana County, on Friday introduced Senate Bill 383 to reduce penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana. The proposed legislation reduces the penalty structure for possession of up to four ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential for jail time for any amount up to eight ounces.

Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over one ounce and up to eight ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with large fines or possible jail time of up to one year. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2013 with bipartisan support.

“I am troubled by the millions of taxpayer dollars that are spent every year on processing thousands of low level marijuana misdemeanor offenders — dollars that might be better spent by hard-pressed law enforcement agencies on more pressing public safety needs,” said Emily Kaltenbach, the New Mexico state director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “If ever there was a bill that advanced the smart on crime agenda, this is it.”

Maine: Former Top Drug Prosecutor Gets 16-Year Prison Sentence For Child Pornography

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The former top drug prosecutor in Maine -- who fled out of state after he was convicted of child pornography charges -- is going to federal prison for almost 16 years.

James Cameron, convicted in 2010 of 13 counts of child porn, had posted bail and was released pending an appeal, reports Catherine Pegram at WABI TV.

He took off out of state in November 2012, and was caught in New Mexico a month later.

Cameron's lawyer was pushing for a 6-1/2 year sentence.

Cameron was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Bangor to 15 years and 9 months in prison.

Photo: WABI TV

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