Re-Enrollmement For Pot Patients Extended, Order Halting Rapid Transit Route Plan Lifted

Aug 20, 2016

New Mexico Extends Re-Enrollment Period For Pot PatientsAssociated Press

New Mexico health officials are extending the enrollment period by up to 60 days for patients who need to renew their certification for the state's medical marijuana program.

The announcement was made Friday on the Health Department's website.

Officials say state and local law enforcement agencies have been alerted about the temporary change, which affects those whose cards expire between June 15 and December 31, 2016.

The move comes as the state tries to whittle down a backlog of applications for both new patients and those seeking renewals.

The department says it's taking about 42 days to process applications, or about a week beyond normal.

The program has grown exponentially, increasing from about 14,000 patients in 2015 to more than 26,000 as of this summer.

Order Lifted That Stopped Albuquerque Route 66 Transit PlanAssociated Press

A federal appeals court has lifted an order that halted Albuquerque's plans for building a rapid transit route along a stretch of Historic Route 66.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday lifted an injunction that had barred the city or its contractors from tearing up the roadway and beginning construction work on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

The $119 million project would create a nine-mile network of bus-only lanes and bus stations in the middle of Central Avenue.

Business owners say the project would spark traffic congestion and ruin the car-friendly persona of the largest urban stretch of Route 66 in the country.

A federal district judge had sided with the city before opponents filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit.

Marijuana Producer Challenges New Mexico Limits On PlantsAssociated Press

The New Mexico Department of Health is being sued by a medical marijuana producer and a mother who uses oil derived from cannabis to control her infant daughter's seizures.

The lawsuit filed this week challenges the state's limit on the number of plants a licensed producer may grow. The complaint alleges the limit is keeping some patients from getting what they need.

Duke Rodriguez is head of New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health Inc., the producer that's suing. He says state regulations should reflect patient needs and be supported by a credible assessment of supply and demand.

Patients enrolled in New Mexico's program have increased rapidly from about 14,000 in 2015 to more than 26,000 as of this summer.

The state last year raised the plant limit from 150 to 450.

New Mexico State Police Officer Arrested On Third DWIAssociated Press

Albuquerque police say a state officer has been picked up on his third drunk driving charge.

New Mexico State Police have confirmed that 32-year-old officer Morgan Ortiz is on paid administrative leave during the criminal case and an internal affairs investigation.

Ortiz was arrested last Friday after officers say he crashed into a parked car at the MATS Detox Program. According to police reports, he was too drunk to be arrested and was instead taken to a hospital.

Ortiz graduated from the police academy in December 2015. State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says Ortiz had two DWI convictions from before his 21st birthday but was put through psychological and medical tests before he was hired.

Kassetas called the incident "unfortunate" and says Ortiz was trying to get treatment at the detox center.

Authorities Investigating Fatal Police Shooting Of Texas ManAssociated Press

The New Mexico State Police is investigating a fatal shooting of a Texas man by Ruidoso police.

They say Ruidoso police were called out to a home about 11:30 p.m. Thursday about an armed male suspect involved in a domestic violence dispute.

Officers say they removed 15 people from the residence.

Occupants told police that 29-year-old David Klassen was intoxicated and had become violent and allegedly threatened some residents with a rifle.

Officers say Klassen was found inside the home and ignored repeated commands to drop the rifle.

Shots were fired by at least one officer, striking Klassen.

He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities say Klassen was from Brownfield, Texas.

UNM To Join NMSU In Selling Booze At Games—Associated Press

The University of New Mexico has announced it will start selling beer and wine at all home football games in the fall.

UNM says booze will go on sale as of Sept. 1 and that the decision was made in response to fan feedback.

New Mexico State University also now offers alcohol sales at games.

The new policy comes with a limit of four beer or wine glasses per person.