Up in smoke
A bill to legalize cannabis is probably kaput ($TNM). Last night, state lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled the proposed Cannabis Regulation Act after 90 minutes of debate. Once tabled, with only a week left in the session, the bill is unlikely to have a second shot. Two Democrats joined three Republicans to table the bill. Sen. Richard Martinez of Ojo Caliente (who was convicted of DWI in December) and Committee Chair Sen. Joe Cervantes of Las Cruces. State Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, voted against tabling, and questioned why the bill had been heard so late in both the session and the evening, as Cervantes only heard the bill after numerous other issues, and the vote took place at approximately 10 pm.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who prioritized cannabis legalization this session, issued a statement in response, saying: "I am disappointed but not deterred by tonight's committee motion. The door remains open. We will keep working to get it done. And ultimately we will deliver thousands of careers for New Mexicans in a new and clean and exciting industry, a key new component of a diversifying economy. We will deliver justice to the victims of an overzealous war on low-level drugs. We will protect our medical cannabis program and the New Mexico patients who rely on it for their medicine. I will keep working hard every single day to enact and serve the will of New Mexicans—on this and every other issue."
Taking on plastic
US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, is one of four federal lawmakers sponsoring a bill to phase out single-use plastics. According to a press release from Udall's office, The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 would eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic products, hold corporations accountable for wasteful products, reduce wasteful packaging, and reform the broken waste and recycling collection system. "The plastic pollution crisis is past the tipping point: our communities, our waterways, and even our bodies are at risk," Udall said. "We are already bearing the cleanup costs of mountains of plastic waste, and it will only get worse for future generations. We have a responsibility to act now before the overwhelming public health, environmental, climate and economic effects of plastic pollution reach the point of no return."
Five new murals will mounted along the fencing surrounding the forthcoming New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary during its year of construction. The murals—part of a public art project titled You Are Here/Estás Aquí—was "informed" by the controversy surrounding the pending destruction of Multi-Cultural, a mural painted by Gilberto Guzman and others on the corner of Guadalupe Street and Montezuma Avenue. "We certainly don't think that this will answer or solve the issue for those who want to see the mural retained—I want to be very clear on that—but it is part of the conversation," Cultural Affairs Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego said ($TNM). A press release from the department notes "the mural designs should create a sense of place and celebrate the multicultural heritage of Santa Fe. This project is expected to activate a busy construction zone by expressing the values, cultures and communities of the city, and engage residents and visitors to the area." Each artist or artist team will be paid $1,000. Information on how to submit is available here.
O’Keeffe founder dies
Anne Marion, who founded the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, died on Tuesday. The Texas oil and ranching heiress was 81 years old. She and husband John Marion established the museum in 1997, and Anne Marion served as the chair of the board of trustees until 2016. O'Keeffe Director Cody Hartley described Marion as a "passionate arts patron, determined leader, and generous philanthropist" in a statement on her death. Former President George W Bush also issued a statement on behalf of himself and former First Lady Laura Bush, describing Marion as "a true Texan, a great patron of the arts, a generous member of our community, and a person of elegance and strength." Upon founding the museum, Anne Marion said of O'Keeffe: "I've always loved her work. I grew up with it in my home—my mother had two of her paintings.″
In episode 18 of "Your New Mexico Government," a podcast devoted to the 54th Legislature, New Mexico PBS correspondent Gwyneth Doland discusses the problems faced and potential solutions therein for the Public Employees Retirement Association. Yesterday, the state Senate passed SB 72, which will infuse $76 million into PERA, which currently has $6.6 billion in unfunded liability. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, New Mexico PBS and KUNM radio.
Santa Fe resident LynnAnnRose Huntington claims employees at Santa Fe Imaging, a local radiology center, were hostile and disrespectful because she is transgender, and intentionally damaged her expensive hearing aids. Moreover, she says the Santa Fe Police Department initially refused to take a report on the incident, and only did so following more than a day of a concerted social media campaign by LynnAnnRose's wife, Lisa Huntington. SFR spoke with the couple about the situation this week. "This kind of discrimination happens all the time…Every time we go out together we experience micro-aggressions—men staring at us or shoving, women making disgusted faces, or laughing," Lisa Huntington says, adding: "It's like bullying, and it wears you down, especially when people repeatedly don't believe you."
Santa Fe has a new bread shop in town: the barely opened Bread Shop at 1708 Lena Street. Owner/baker Jacob Brenner just returned to his hometown of Santa Fe after a decade in Portland, Oregon. His new shop is cozy and sustainable: Brenner uses electric bread ovens and the whole shop runs on solar power. But what about the breads, you ask? SFR enjoyed them, particularly a square of focaccia topped with green olives and preserved lemon. You can read more about Brenner's baking style here.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility
New Mexico doesn't make Page Six too often (at least not that we've noticed), but yesterday the celebrity gossip site took notice of the Land of Enchantment. That's because a new documentary, "2Pac: The Great Escape from UMC," claims rapper Tupac Shakur was not killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas circa 1996. Rather, Shakur was aware of the hit, planted a body double in the car and was airlifted to New Mexico. He has been hiding here since, living under the protection of the Navajo tribe. Filmmaker Rick Boss says the idea is grounded in reality. "You can write a fiction. You can write a fiction story but this is not a fiction. This is facts through certain people I know," Boss told KTNV in Las Vegas.
Forecasts call for an upward climb out of the colder temperatures starting today when it will be sunny with a high near 41 degrees. Friday, highs will reach 47. As for the weekend, expect more sunny skies. Saturday is predicted to see highs near 49 and Sunday will hit 52. Slight chance of snow showers still predicted for the start of next week.