As the 2016 New Mexico legislative session looms on the horizon, efforts are already underway to revisit the legalization of marijuana in the state. A state representative from Las Cruces, Bill McCamely, has already prefiled a bill that would make the herb legal for 21+ users. McCamely's legislative action, HB 75, would allow adult users to purchase and possess cannabis. The bill, titled the “Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act,” would provide for the legal use of cannabis while also making sure said usage is properly monitored and regulated by the state. McCamely wrote the bill specifically to address the inherent problems of prohibition while also providing means for the state and its citizens to benefit from marijuana. Further, the piece of legislation specifies that one of the main reasons for legalization is based on the premise that local and state law enforcement has better things to do, stating that an end to illegal cannabis would help with “prioritizing the state's limited law enforcement resources in the most effective, consistent and rational way.”
CYFD Housing Concerns
The Children, Youth and Families Department here in New Mexico has raised concerns about the institutional buildings and offices meant to provide points of interface for children, some in CYFD custody, who are being serviced by the department. Sarah Palmer, a foster parent coordinator for the department, went on record with local media this week to express the department's desire to provide more and better child-friendly environments for clients who have sometimes been severely traumatized as a lead-up to their interations with the state agency. Leaders at CYFD propose creating a more “homelike space” to meet with and care for children who must work with CYFD through its Child Wellness Center. Such a site would also provide a means of centralizing services and office sites for the widely scattered programs, field offices and officials overseen by the state's main child and youth oversight department. Currently, the agency is seeking proposals from local property owners interested in providing an amenable environment, after initial plans to buy the SunPort Corporate Center fell through recently.
APD Reports a Surge in Crime
A new set of statistics garnered by Albuquerque Police Department officials indicates that violent crime in Albuquerque grew over the previous year. According to those records, still preliminary as of this time, APD investigated 30 homicides in 2014. In 2015, the number of murders investigated was 46. Although there was an obvious increase, a look at violent crime data over the past several years reveals a wave-like trend where violent crime has surged and then ebbed. For instance, there were 56 reported homicides in 2009. According to published reports, the Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard Berry blames the recent rise in violent crime on the judiciary and on criminals who have been returned to the street after serving sentences that were perhaps too short or at least ineffective in their attempts at reform.