If you’d like to hang with like-minded herbal medicine enthusiasts this weekend, make tracks to Weekly Alibi’s third annual Hempfiesta on Saturday, Aug. 10, from noon to 8pm, at Balloon Fiesta Park. This festival features: live music by bands like ¡Revíva! and Baracutanga; a Hemposium that is jam-packed with experts and industry professionals speaking on a number of topics; more than 80 vendors purveying glassware, jewelry, crafts and much more; kids’ activities like face painting and tye-dying T-shirts; a beer garden; and purveyors of food and drink like Doner Kebab, Tikka Spice, Rockin’ Bubble Waffles, Tino’s Catering and JM Treats. Learn more at the New Mexico Hempfiesta website.
New Mexico Political Report covered a state district court judge’s Monday ruling that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program must begin issuing medical cannabis cards to any individual who qualifies, whether or not applicants are actually residents of the state of New Mexico. Changes made to the wording of state medical cannabis law in July 2019 allowed out-of-state residents to sue successfully, by arguing that recent changes to state law were intended to open the program up to residents of other states. The lawsuit was filed by Arizona resident and Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez and two Texans, Harold Meyers of Dalhart and Lia Sias of El Paso. In his decision, Judge Bryan Biedscheid wrote, “The [word] replacement is a clear sign of legislative intent to widen the reach of availability for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.”
According to Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque), who sponsored the omnibus bill containing the definition change, the initial legislative intent was allowing access to reciprocal medical cannabis patients—residents of states with legalized medical cannabis—who spend a lot of time here in New Mexico, such as postsecondary students, visiting scientists and other consulting professionals. But Biedshcheid didn’t buy it, noting that individual interpretation of the law cannot supersede statute and that the state Department of Health’s “requirement of a copy of a New Mexico driver’s license is, in and of itself, a violation of law even as to New Mexico residents.” Biedscheid set a response deadline of Aug. 19 for the DOH and Medical Cannabis Program; if those parties can’t present a compelling argument to the court, the DOH will have no choice but to begin issuing state medical cannabis cards to out-of-state residents. Since the transport of cannabis across state lines is a federal crime, this ruling has the potential to wreak havoc on New Mexico’s largely well-integrated medical cannabis program.