New Mexico Group On Legalizing Marijuana Hosting 1st Meeting, Experts To Review Mine Design At WIPP

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New Mexico Group On Legalizing Marijuana Hosting 1st Meeting - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

A bipartisan group appointed by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to study legalizing recreational marijuana in the state is holding its first public meeting.

The group is scheduled Wednesday to meet in Albuquerque and to hear from officials from the state's current medical cannabis program and from experts of marijuana licensing.

Members of the group include Democratic and Republican legislators who sponsored unsuccessful legislation this year to authorize and tax recreational marijuana sales at state-run stores. That proposal passed a House vote but stalled in the Senate.

The Governor's Working Group on Cannabis Legalization is scheduled to hold a similar meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Aug. 28. It also is slated to visit Colorado to meet with state regulators there.

Experts To Review Mine Design At US Nuclear Waste Dump - Associated Press

The contractor that manages the federal government's nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico has assembled a panel of experts to review the effectiveness of ground control and mine design at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Officials with Nuclear Waste Partnership say the experts' recommendations will help ensure worker safety and that the repository is compliant with state and federal regulations.

The experts have experience in geotechnical engineering, geophysics, rock mechanics and imaging and sensing technologies.

The repository is licensed to take Cold War-era waste generated by decades of bomb-making and defense-related nuclear research. The waste includes gloves, clothing, tools and other materials contaminated with radioactive elements.

The waste is entombed in disposal rooms carved out of an ancient salt formation about half a mile down.

Progressive Group Backs Candidate In Senate RaceAssociated Press

An advocacy group for progressive policies and candidates known as the Working Families Party is endorsing New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in the Democratic primary race for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Working Families executive committee member Andrea Serrano said Monday the endorsement is based in part on Toulouse Oliver's aggressive stances in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Trump and dismantling Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Environmental and health care policy also weighed in the choice.

The group operates a political committee in New Mexico and acts as a political party in some other states.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is vying against Toulouse Oliver for the Democratic nomination to replace Sen. Tom Udall as he retires next year.

Prominent backers of Luján's campaign include Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the gun safety organization led by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

In New Mexico, US Defends Authority Over Parole Of MigrantsAssociated Press

The Department of Justice is urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the state of New Mexico that seeks to halt the quick release of asylum seeking migrants into local communities without economic assistance.

In a motion filed Monday, Albuquerque-based U.S. Attorney James Anderson says that the Department of Homeland Security has discretion over the parole of migrants and agency resources.

The lawsuit by New Mexico and Albuquerque seeks reimbursement for humanitarian efforts to shelter migrants and challenges the cancellation of an immigration program that helped migrants with phone calls and other travel logistics as they sought out final destinations throughout the United States.

Anderson says there is no federal statute or regulation requiring assistance for asylum seekers when they are paroled into the U.S.

Navajo Nation Eyes Renaming US Highway After Late Senator - Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Some Navajo Nation officials are seeking to ask New Mexico to rename a U.S. highway after one of the longest-serving Native American lawmakers in U.S. history.

The Farmington Daily Times reports a Navajo legislative committee is requesting New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham name U.S. Highway 491 in honor of the late state Sen. John Pinto.

Pinto, who died in May at the age of 94, had long sought to turn the deadly U.S. 666 into a four-lane highway and to change its name to U.S. 491.

U.S. Highway 491 stretches around 194 miles from Gallup, New Mexico, through Colorado to Monticello, Utah.

Pinto was a World War II Navajo code talker and served over four decades in the New Mexico Legislature.

New Mexico State Saw Jump In Ticket Sales Last Year - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

New Mexico State is reporting a five-year high in athletic ticket sales thanks to excitement around football and basketball.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports New Mexico State had a $326,000 surplus in ticket sales last year — the most in New Mexico State athletics director Mario Moccia's five years.

The ticket sale came a year after New Mexico State won a bowl game for the first time in five decades and hype around the Aggies' basketball season.

Athletics budgeted for $1.2 million in ticket sales last year and sold over $1.5 million.

New Mexico State has reduced the season ticket budget from $210,000 last year to $110,000 after the football team went 3-9 last season.