State revokes third cannabis license
New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division has revoked another business’ license—the third since sales of adult recreational cannabis became legal here in 2021. According to the agency’s final decision published last week, Albuquerque-based company Golden Roots violated close to a dozen state statutes governing the industry, including those involving tracking, storing and transporting cannabis. The agency also fined the company more than $298,000. As SFR previously reported, the Cannabis Control Division revoked its first license, for Paradise Distro, last July, a move that followed a request from more than 100 cannabis business owners for the state to pause licensing in order to stabilize the market. It revoked its second license, for CMF Productions, in August. CCD Division Director Todd Stevens, who began his position in August, tells SFR the agency hired seven new compliance officers over the summer, bringing its total to 13. “These officers have hit the ground running and are picking things up quickly…We continue to complete spot inspections, investigate complaints from the community, and…find noncompliant actors and bring them into compliance,” he says, noting that the agency’s compliance officers “are out in the field each day inspecting New Mexico cannabis businesses.” Regarding Golden Roots’ license revocation, Stevens tells the Albuquerque Journal the company showed “a blatant disregard for the Cannabis Regulation Act and the laws all licensees in New Mexico must follow.”
NM Gov helps form Hispanic Super PAC
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is part of a triumvirate of former members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who have formed a new Hispanic Super PAC, Axios reports. Lujan Grisham, along with former Democratic US Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and Filemon Vela of Texas announced the new effort, named BOLD America, last week. “As a former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I know how important it is for elected leaders to reflect the communities they serve,” the governor said in a statement. “When one of us breaks through, we do not close the door behind us, we pave the way for countless others to follow. Through BOLD America, we will be empowered to protect and expand Hispanic representation in Congress, ensuring that the voices of all Americans are heard and are represented in our policies.” As The Hill notes, the super PAC’s name nods at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ PAC, BOLD PAC, which the Hill says “has grown aggressively over the past decade, especially after the 2016 election. CHC members have made it a mission to approach parity between representation and the Hispanic population,” which comprises approximately 20% of the US population.
New Mexico State Police continue to amp up patrols on La Bajada, following New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler order earlier this month for additional officers to patrol the area for a variety of unsafe driving along the ongoing construction site. According to the most recent update, state police officers have made 402 traffic stops, issued 433 traffic citations (403 for speeding), and investigated one crash since the operation began. Last week, they made 183 traffic stops, issued 197 traffic citations (191 for speeding) and had zero crashes to investigate. Their efforts come as a new study from Forbes places New Mexico as the third most dangerous state in the US for drivers, behind Montana and South Carolina. According to the study, New Mexico has experienced a 21% increase in car accident fatalities since 2020, with 38.67% of fatal car accidents occurring as a result of speeding, while 68.61% happening due to impaired driving. Speaking of impaired driving, state police also announced last week officers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, along with registration, insurance and driver’s license checkpoints in all New Mexico counties throughout November. Santa Fe Police, meanwhile, kicked off its own “fall blitz” at the start of the month, focusing on Cerrillos Road, St. Francis Drive, Airport Road and Camino Carlos Rey. SFPD says as of Oct. 22, it had issued 215 citations and provides a breakdown (no, the breakdown does not add up to 215 citations; SFR has a pending request for clarification), which identifies speeding and lack of registration as two top violations.
Meet the city’s next judge
Because he’s uncontested on the Nov. 7 ballot, barring unforeseen circumstances, Chad Chittum will succeed Municipal Judge Virginia Vigil, who has held the position since 2016 and isn’t seeking re-election. Vigil, as SFR has reported, has had her own share of legal problems during her tenure. Chittum may not be a household name, but he’s well acquainted with city court, for which he began working in 2016 as the city prosecutor before becoming the court’s staff attorney in 2019. Chittum, who also serves as pro-tem judge in Vigil’s absence, tells SFR becoming the court’s judge is a “natural progression” for him. “I come into the court, right from being a prosecutor, and I have the experience of also knowing criminal procedure, all the case law and trial work experience that I have, but also now I’ve got the behind-the-door experience, so I think it will be a seamless transition,” he says. Among other initiatives, Chittum says he intends to create a specialty court for individuals aged 18 to 25 years old, “to make sure that we’re keeping them out of the system and if they get into the system, make sure they don’t come back.”
On the most recent episode of the National Parks Traveler Podcast, “Footprints in Time,” host Lynn Riddick digs into new research that revises the arrival date of humans to North America, based on ancient footprints at White Sands National Park. Riddick talks with key members of the research team from the US Geological Survey about why the evidence preserved in the park’s white gypsum sands indicates “ancient humans lived here much earlier than previously believed.”
Breaking the mold
Reporting from Placitas, the New York Times spotlights Native American artisans’ use of molds from cuttlebone and tufa stone—with great detail and photography—to cast metal jewelry. Althea Cajero, who grew up on Santo Domingo Pueblo, describes the effect from the process to the Times as one that creates a “unique, elegant texture” that “kind of looks like a fingerprint. Each pattern is different.” While techniques can vary, the story notes, the use of a mold is constant, with “tufa,” which is “the compressed fine-grain volcanic ash found in geological formations across the Navajo and Hopi reservations and in other parts of the arid Southwest,” a common material for such molds. Cajero, however, discovered “cuttlefish” casting in the mid-2000s when she took jewelry classes. Cuttlefish is actually a mollusk, and casting involves using its “oblong internal structure…the soft surface of the dried cuttlebone has made it a medium for metal casting in many parts of the world for centuries.” Brian Fleetwood, who teaches jewelry making at the Institute of American Indian Arts, tells the Times “much of the earliest tufa casting in the Southwest was done to turn silver coins into ingots that could be hammered into sheets or wire to make jewelry.” Artists began to see more potential in the material and process in the mid 20th century.
Realtor.com spotlights actress Shirley MacLaine’s $4.3 million Santa Fe home, which it says “fittingly…comes with a distinct spiritual vibe.” (Fittingly because MacLaine, 89, “renowned for playing lovable, quirky characters, is also known for her books on such topics as reincarnation and metaphysics.”) In addition to spiritual vibes, the 6,659-square-foot home has three bedrooms, six baths, two of which are part of a “spacious primary suite, which also features a large walk-in closet and access to an enclosed deck with remarkable views.” The home, the “story” notes, is close to Bishop’s Lodge Resort and originally went on the market in May for approximately $4.9 million before being reduced last July to its current price. “This could be an excellent opportunity for a buyer who enjoys peace, serenity, the magic of New Mexico’s mountains and deserts, and the legacy of an American icon,” Realtor.com concludes. By the way, should the proposed 3% excise tax on real estate over $1 million pass in the Nov. 7 local election, the purchaser of said home—were it to sell after the law went into effect—would pay that tax on $3.3 million of the asking price, or $99,000. MacLaine, who reportedly bought the house in 2005, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Industry Dance Awards and Cancer Benefit Show in Hollywood on Oct. 18.
The National Weather Service forecasts cold but clear weather today, with partly sunny skies gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high temperature near 43 degrees and east wind 5 to 10 mph. Look for a low tonight around 27 degrees. Temps should climb into the 50s tomorrow and then into the low 60s by the end of the week.