One day, Lyra Barron hopes visitors to her Fruit of the Earth cannabis dispensary will be able to sit down, socialize and consume cannabis purchased at her store on-site in a state-licensed consumption lounge. But issues over second-hand smoke and driving under the influence have caused headaches for legislators and others trying to create a structure for cannabis consumption areas. Three states are working to launch legal consumption areas, and across the country other municipalities have launched smaller-scale options within their city limits. The New Mexico Department of Health has been charged with licensing areas for medical cannabis patients, with proposed rules set to be heard on Nov. 22 at a Santa Fe hearing. We only found out about it after we pestered the department for a couple days. Now, you know too!
SFR’s Cannabis News
Dreaming of a Social Scene
Cannabis lounges face regulatory hurdles in New Mexico and other states
Santa Fe farmer has his crop stolen from a remote site in Ribera, while other New Mexico farmers report success with heightened security
Relaxed security standards
Journalist Andy Lyman delves into security at New Mexico's medical dispensaries with a story in via New Mexico Political Report about recent robberies in Albuquerque. He reports the state has "relaxed security standards" compared to other states with medical or recreational cannabis programs.
While some states with legal cannabis require the use of video monitoring, with specific camera placement, New Mexico's rules leave the details in the hands of each operator.
Lawmakers discuss impacts of cannabis legalization
Members of the Legislature's Economic and Rural Development Committee met last week in a committee hearing to discuss the potential impacts of cannabis legalization.
Specifically, the group looked at taxes on cannabis and how to allocate revenues. Pat Davis, the chair of the governor's cannabis task force, told the committee it was important to use revenues to help lower-income residents get into the market.
One way to accomplish that would be to set up a venture capital fund that provides low-interest loans to disadvantaged communities for the sake of helping them launch cannabis businesses. The committee convened one month after the cannabis work group released its initial findings. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to see the Legislature address the issue in the 2020 short session.
Texans flow into New Mexico medical cannabis program
There are now 130 non-residents in New Mexico's medical cannabis program, after a court ruled in August that a change in state law had eliminated in-state requirements to join.
Of those new participants, 119 are Texas residents. The rest are a handful from Colorado, Arizona, Montana, Illinois and Kansas. One Mexican national has also enrolled in the program.
As of October, the New Mexico medical cannabis program had 78,362 patients enrolled.
Democratic Senate head wary of cannabis legalization
Democratic Senate President Mary Kay Papen told a panel of legislators that she was "not really enthusiastic" about the prospect of cannabis legalization, but that she could change her mind.
Papen, who faces a challenge in the Democratic primary, wants most of the tax proceeds from marijuana sales to be allocated by the state to health care spending.
Republican state Rep. Martin Zamora of Clovis does not support legalization. He said he fears burdens on law enforcement and health issues.
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More states look at legalizing recreational cannabis in 2020
New Mexico and at least six other states are investigating recreational cannabis legalization in 2020.
So far, 33 states have passed medical marijuana laws, and 11 have passed laws for legal recreational consumption.
The six states looking to fully legalize in 2020 are Arizona, which narrowly failed to legalize in 2016; Arkansas, which passed medical cannabis in 2016; Florida, which has a rapidly growing medical program; Missouri, which legalized medical cannabis a year ago; New Jersey and South Dakota.
Michigan to launch recreational cannabis on Dec. 1
Michigan's adult use cannabis market is set to launch on Dec. 1, with about a dozen stores ready to open.
Recreational sales were supposed to start in spring 2020, but state legislators accelerated the timeline by allowing medical providers to transfer up to half of their stock to adult-use stores.
That said, eight of 10 municipalities, including Detroit, have opted out or banned recreational cannabis.
Mexico pushes recreational legalization back six months
Mexico, which legalized medical cannabis in 2017 and was on track to legalize recreational cannabis in October, has taken a step back and delayed plans by six months.
In October 2018 Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban possession or use of recreational cannabis, essentially legalizing it but with no stores or infrastructure.
The Supreme Court ruling gave legislators a year to create a framework for adult-use sales. But Mexico's Congress waited until October 2019 to introduce legislation that some say was poorly structured. Pressure from the business community for more business-friendly legislation caused lawmakers to delay the decision until April 2020.