Agency Awards $6M To NM To Battle Opioid Crisis, NM Prepares To Overhaul Medical Marijuana Market

Aug 10, 2019

Agency Awards $6M To New Mexico To Battle Opioid Crisis -Associated Press

A federal agency has awarded grants totaling $6 million for New Mexico programs to combat the state's opioid crisis.

A statement Friday by the state's congressional delegation said the grants provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services will support treatment, prevention, recovery and research efforts.

The awards include $2.5 million to support 15 health centers around the state and $2 million for Rio Arriba County and El Centro Family Health in Española.

The awards also include $1.3 million provided to New Mexico State University for training students preparing to become behavioral health professionals focused on substance use disorders.

New Mexico State will get an additional $305,000 for graduate programs to train psychologists to work with underserved populations.

New Mexico Prepares To Overhaul Medical Marijuana Market -Associated Press

A hearing officer has endorsed key provisions of a plan to shore up cannabis supplies to New Mexico's medical marijuana program without flooding the expanding market.

State Health Department Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel now has the final say on whether to limit medical cannabis cultivation to 1,750 mature plants per producer. In recommendations released Friday, that production cap was endorsed by an official assigned to monitor public hearings in July.

Medical cannabis producers are divided on whether the proposed plant limits are good for suppliers and customers. Ultra Health is the state's largest medical cannabis distributor and favors a much higher per-producer cap of 5,000 mature plants and unlimited seedlings.

The new proposed rules also would allow medical marijuana patients to renew their enrollment every three years, instead of annually.

Forecasters Warn Of Wet Weekend In New Mexico -Associated Press

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque are warning that the weekend will be very wet.

They said Friday that a deep plume of moisture will shift north into New Mexico through Sunday and lead to a monsoon "burst" pattern.

The combination of abundant moisture, slow-moving storm and elevated soil moisture will increase the potential for flash flooding Saturday and Sunday.

Widespread rainfall amounts from a half-inch to an inch (2.54 centimeters) are likely with locally higher amounts of 2 inches (5.08 centimeters).

The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit the western half of the state, and the greatest risk for thunderstorms with flash flooding will occur from early afternoon into the evening hours each day.

Carson Forest To Host Public Meetings On Management Plan -Associated Press

Numerous public meetings are scheduled across northern New Mexico as federal officials roll out a proposed management plan for the Carson National Forest.

The proposal outlines how more than 2,340 square miles (6,070 square kilometers) of forest land across four counties would be managed.

Officials say the plan reflects changes in economic, social and ecological conditions since the last plan was approved during the 1980s. They also say it includes input from elected officials, Native American tribes, land grants and community members.

Some Hispanic ranchers have voiced concerns about whether the plan adequately protects traditional uses that date back centuries.

Forest Supervisor James Duran said Friday the revised draft recognizes the deep connection that rural communities have to the Carson forest.

The public has until Nov. 7 to comment.

Man Who Killed 5 As A Teen To Receive Adult Sentence -Associated Press

A judge has ruled that a New Mexico man who shot and killed his parents and three young siblings when he was a teenager will be sentenced as an adult.

The ruling in Nehemiah Griego's case was handed down Friday — nearly four years after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in the January 2013 shootings at his family's home south of Albuquerque.

Judge Alisa Hart recently took Griego's case after a judge who had been overseeing it and monitoring his rehabilitation for years recused himself.

Hart found Griego was not amenable for treatment as a child in state facilities, a factor in her decision whether to sentence him as a juvenile or adult.

Interactive Border Wall Mural Tells Stories Of Deported -Associated Press

A new mural on the Mexican side of a border wall shows faces of people deported from the U.S. with barcodes that activate first-person narratives on visitors' phones.

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana conceived the interactive mural in Tijuana as part of a doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Davis. There are two mothers whose children stayed in the U.S. under a program to shield people who came when they were very young.

Her project blends Mexico's rich history of muralists with what can loosely be called interactive or performance art on the border.

At the same Tijuana beach during an art festival in 2005, David Smith Jr. flashed his passport, lowered himself into a barrel and was shot over the wall, landing on a net in the U.S.

New Mexico County Tracks Drug Use With GIS Map -Associated Press

Officials have launched a digital mapping tool to track the places where heroin needles and syringes are found in New Mexico's largest city.

Bernalillo County officials say the app is part of a push to collect data and track drug use in Albuquerque and elsewhere in their jurisdiction.

They say volunteers, and city and county workers have collected about 13,000 needles since May 2018. A crew collected more than 80 Friday at an abandoned property in northeast Albuquerque.

Officials say they hope the data will help guide drug policy decisions and help avoid duplicating clean-up efforts.

A spokesman for Bernalillo County's Department of Behavioral Health Services says he isn't aware of current efforts elsewhere to use GIS mapping to track drug use, though other counties have attempted similar initiatives in the past.

Thunderstorm Forces Cancellation Of Horse Racing At Ruidoso -Associated Press

Officials at a horse racing track in southern New Mexico say a severe storm has forced them to cancel races for the afternoon.

Ruidoso Downs' president and general manager Jeff True said Friday that the races were called off to ensure the safety of the jockeys and horses. He says the conditions were such that activities couldn't continue.

Racing is expected to resume Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say chances are increasing for more widespread rainfall through Sunday as the monsoon season continues in New Mexico.

The moisture has been spotty, meaning abnormally dry conditions are still hanging in parts of southern New Mexico. The latest drought map also shows much of the state's northwest corner is still dealing with moderate drought.