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121 US NM: OPED: Medical Pot Doesn't Lead To Impaired DrivingMon, 12 Jan 2015
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Monaghan, Patricia M. Area:New Mexico Lines:90 Added:01/12/2015

Marijuana's Negative Effects 'Pale in Comparison' To Alcohol Abuse on Roads

We're all concerned about reducing impaired driving, but "Road Warrior" columnist D'Val Westphal consulted only one biased and uninformed source on the topic of cannabis in her Dec. 29th column. Her sole source, Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuq., is a retired Bernalillo County sheriff's captain. Several of Rehm's statements were glaringly wrong.

First, he states that "(n)ot everyone who drinks alcohol intends to become intoxicated. They have a drink with dinner. Smoking marijuana has one purpose: to get high." That is absolutely wrong! Twenty-three states (including New Mexico) and Washington, D.C., permit the medical use of cannabis and according to procon. org there are approximately 2.4 million medical cannabis patients in the nation.

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122 US NM: Column: Medical Pot Users Not Protected by AmericansMon, 05 Jan 2015
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM) Author:Winnegar, Andy Area:New Mexico Lines:99 Added:01/05/2015

With legalized medical marijuana in 23 states and Washington, D.C., you might think that legal use of the plant would not result in the loss of your job or other dire consequences, but you are wrong.

This is because federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no approved medical uses. Drugs and other substances that are considered controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act are divided into five schedules.

Schedule I controlled substances are considered to have no currently accepted medical use in the U.S., a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision and a high potential for abuse.

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123 US NM: Editorial: Err On Side Of CompassionFri, 02 Jan 2015
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM)          Area:New Mexico Lines:59 Added:01/02/2015

Too much energy is being spent rewriting rules for the distribution of medical marijuana in New Mexico. The state Department of Health, rather than devising cumbersome rules that make it harder for patients to get the medicine they need, should streamline the process. While the latest version of rules is an improvement (anything would be) on the original plan, more work is needed. Compassion needs to play a role.

The Medical Cannabis Program is too important to sick patients to burden it with rules that are more political than practical. Testimony from patients whose quality of life has been improved because of marijuana prescriptions is too compelling to ignore.

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124 US NM: Revised Pot Proposal Nets More Criticism, Some PublicTue, 30 Dec 2014
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM) Author:Haywood, Phaedra Area:New Mexico Lines:100 Added:12/30/2014

Latest Public Hearing Draws Smaller Crowd

A public hearing on the revised version of proposed rule changes for the state Medical Cannabis Program on Monday drew far fewer people than a June hearing on the first version, and it was generally less contentious.

One woman wondered aloud if the hearing was deliberately scheduled during the holidays in order to reduce attendance.

The 50 people who spoke had many of the same criticisms of the proposed rule changes that were voiced last summer, but several also said they were pleased with the revisions.

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125 US NM: Column: Examining Legality Of Pot Use, DrivingMon, 29 Dec 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Westphal, D'val Area:New Mexico Lines:91 Added:12/29/2014

WHAT'S ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE HERE? Eric Jackson points out, "We all know it's illegal to drive while intoxicated, and that it's illegal to have open containers of alcohol in a vehicle - but what about using marijuana?

"Let's say a person has a medical marijuana card," he emails. "Is there an 'open container' law for pot? I ask because I observed a man toking on a marijuana pipe while stopped at a stoplight in Rio Rancho. Is it illegal to partake of marijuana while driving, even if one has not reached a level of intoxication that would cause impairment?"

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126 US NM: PUB LTE: Civil Asset for Feiture Evidence of DeclineTue, 16 Dec 2014
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM) Author:King, David Area:New Mexico Lines:35 Added:12/17/2014

Clearly, the far right wing of this country would love to return to a medieval, feudal state with them (the 0.1 percent) as our feudal lords. During those original good old times, the lords of the realm could confiscate any property accumulated by the lower classes arbitrarily at any time.

The article ("In seizure of civil assets, police look for 'goodies,' " Nov. 11) about "civil asset forfeiture" shows this practice has now been resurrected. U.S. law enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service proudly admit to seizing millions of dollars worth of property and cash from private citizens when no laws have been broken and often where no criminality is even suspected.

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127 US NM: Congress Eases Up On Medical Pot CrackdownsTue, 16 Dec 2014
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM) Author:Terrell, Steve Area:New Mexico Lines:108 Added:12/17/2014

Budget Bill Sent to Obama Calls for Backing off State-Run Programs

For the first time ever, Congress has gone on record opposing federal intervention against state-sanctioned marijuana businesses in states like New Mexico that have medical marijuana programs.

The federal budget bill passed recently by Congress includes a short provision that says "None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used ... to prevent such states from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana."

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128 US NM: OPED: Pot Business Mimicking Big TobaccoSat, 13 Dec 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Wilkinson, Samuel T. Area:New Mexico Lines:120 Added:12/13/2014

Marijuana May Follow in Footsteps of Cigarette Industry in Luring New Users

Last month, people voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. As the movement toward marijuana legalization continues, lawmakers and policy experts are looking to the experiments in Colorado and Washington for guidance. We should not overlook, however, valuable lessons from our experience with another legal drug: tobacco.

In the late 19th century, the landscape of tobacco consumption was very different than it is today. Tobacco use was much less prevalent, and cigarettes accounted for a tiny portion of consumption.

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129 US NM: Were Dedication And Passion Teacher's Downfall?Sat, 13 Dec 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Krueger, Joline Gutierrez Area:New Mexico Lines:132 Added:12/13/2014

When you send your children off to school, you hope for a teacher who not only fills their minds but inspires them to make their lives extraordinary.

Our schools are full of such wonderful teachers. But some of these teachers are burning out or being beaten down with the demands of conformity and administrative hoop-jumping. Worst of all, they are leaving.

The latest loss is Katrina Guarascio, a creative writing teacher who for the past eight years was a beloved educator at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho until she resigned Dec. 3, leaving more than 170 students with a parade of substitute teachers who have come and gone not just since Guarascio's resignation but for three weeks in October when she was placed on administrative leave for reasons that have changed with the weather.

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130 US NM: Classroom ControversyWed, 10 Dec 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Swedien, Jon Area:New Mexico Lines:134 Added:12/10/2014

Student Essay About Jesus and Pot Ends With RR Teacher's Resignation

What seemed at first to be an innocuous creative writing assignment sparked a controversy at a Rio Rancho high school that ultimately cost Katrina Gaurascio her job, the former English teacher said Tuesday.

In response to the assignment, one student wrote an essay about Jesus distributing marijuana. Another student complained to her parents about it.

Gaurascio, an English teacher at V. Sue Cleveland High School, ended up being put on paid leave for three weeks, and then later asked to change her creative writing class or resign - which on Dec. 3 she did.

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131 US NM: State Drops Proposed Fee For Medical PotWed, 03 Dec 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Uyttebrouck, Olivier Area:New Mexico Lines:76 Added:12/03/2014

Many Patients Complained They Couldn't Afford $50 Card

State health officials have scrapped a proposed $50 annual fee for more than 12,000 New Mexicans licensed to buy medical marijuana, according to new proposed rules unveiled this week by the state Department of Health.

The proposed $50 fee to renew a registry ID card was one of several proposed rule changes announced in May that drew fire from many licensed medical pot users and producers. About 500 people turned out at a public hearing in June, with most opposed to the proposed changes.

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132 US NM: N.M. Lawmaker Urges Debate On Legalizing PotWed, 26 Nov 2014
Source:New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM) Author:Bryan, Susan Montoya Area:New Mexico Lines:85 Added:11/29/2014

State House Dem Plans Legislation Modeled on Oregon Law, but Measure May Face GOP Challenge

ALBUQUERQUE - The conversation about whether New Mexico should join other Western states in legalizing marijuana is cranking up as state lawmakers prepare for the 2015 legislative session.

Rep. Bill McCamley, a Democrat from Southern New Mexico, took his case for legalization to fellow lawmakers Tuesday during a meeting of the interim Health and Human Services Committee.

McCamley dismissed the stoner humor of 1970s comics Cheech and Chong and said this should be a serious debate.

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133 US NM: Rep. Makes Case For Legalized PotWed, 26 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Bryan, Susan Montoya Area:New Mexico Lines:86 Added:11/28/2014

The conversation about whether New Mexico should join other Western states in legalizing marijuana is cranking up as state lawmakers prepare for the 2015 legislative session.

Rep. Bill McCamley, a Democrat from southern New Mexico, took his case for legalization to fellow lawmakers Tuesday during a meeting of the interim Health and Human Services Committee.

McCamley dismissed the stoner humor of 1970s comics Cheech and Chong and said this should be a serious debate.

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134 US NM: PUB LTE: Change A Failed Policy Of Pot ProhibitionTue, 18 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Fejer, Brian Area:New Mexico Lines:47 Added:11/19/2014

NOW THAT THE voters have spoken, I hope New Mexico small government Republicans rethink their lockstep support for the 80-plus-year failed big government federal prohibition on the cannabis plant.

In 2010, Gov. Susana Martinez campaigned vowing to repeal New Mexico's medical marijuana law, which helps New Mexicans who have chronic conditions, or who might be terminally ill with cancer. After her inauguration, Martinez relented, saying "We have bigger issues that we have to deal with."

In 2014, Martinez claimed that merely reducing marijuana penalties is a "horrible, horrible idea"?

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135 US NM: Santa Fe Pot Charges TossedTue, 18 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM)          Area:New Mexico Lines:28 Added:11/19/2014

SANTA FE - Santa Fe's city judge is dismissing citations issued by police for misdemeanor marijuana violations because the City Council has decided that people possessing small amounts of pot should instead be charged with a civil infraction.

City employees were caught by surprise when the council in August approved an ordinance outright instead of having voters decide the issue.

The ordinance took effect in September, but city employees didn't have new forms ready to charge violators with a civil infraction instead of a criminal violation.

Municipal Court Judge Ann Yalman says she's been dismissing citations filed under the old law because she no longer has jurisdiction.

Police say they'll stop sending misdemeanor citations to Municipal Court.

[end]

136 US NM: Editorial: Legalizing Pot May Mean Less of Your BrainSat, 15 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM)          Area:New Mexico Lines:63 Added:11/17/2014

One of the major arguments often heard in favor of marijuana decriminalization and legalization is that the only thing smoking weed threatens is a bag of Doritos.

Now a groundbreaking study that originated at the Mind Research Network on the campus of the University of New Mexico shows regularly getting high causes more damage than late-night munchies on a waistline.

In the study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Vince Calhoun, a distinguished research professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNM, used three MRI techniques over several years to monitor a group of "chronic" pot smokers and compare them to a control group. Working closely with the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas - including Dr. Francesca Filbey, director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders and a former Mind Research Network colleague - he found that smoking marijuana at least three times a day over an extended period of time measurably reduces the volume of gray matter in a part of the brain associated with decision making and addiction.

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137 US NM: APD's Cut Of Federal Forfeitures EscalatesSat, 15 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Boetel, Ryan Area:New Mexico Lines:143 Added:11/17/2014

Officials Defend Practice, 'Stops Criminal Activity'

The amount of money the Albuquerque Police Department receives annually from federal forfeiture proceedings has doubled in the last five years, exceeding more than $1 million in the 2014 fiscal year, according to police records.

That money is in addition to what the city receives from seizing and sometimes selling vehicles used in repeat DWI cases. Overall, Albuquerque received about $11 million from 2010 through 2014 fiscal years from property seized by law enforcement, according to the records.

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138 US NM: Column: Pot Can Be Legal, But It's Still Not CoolThu, 13 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Moyer, Justin Area:New Mexico Lines:111 Added:11/13/2014

Legalization Is Not About What State Condones but Rather What's Allowed

This past week, D.C. advanced America's 21st-century war on its 20th-century war on drugs. Now that marijuana is somewhat legal, the city's African-American residents are less likely to be disproportionately arrested for a victimless crime.

If the cannabis industry stays out of town, D.C. Council members, who should spend time fixing the city's public schools, won't be preoccupied with regulating a substance arguably less harmful than alcohol. And police officers who should be chasing bank robbers and murderers will no longer bust college students carrying dime bags.

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139 US NM: Heavy Pot Smoking Shrinks Gray MatterWed, 12 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM) Author:Bush, Mike Area:New Mexico Lines:120 Added:11/13/2014

UNM Professor Plays a Key Role in the Groundbreaking Research

Longtime, chronic marijuana use causes significant abnormalities in brain function and structure - and perhaps lower IQ - according to a major new study conducted in part at the Mind Research Network on the campus of the University of New Mexico.

Chronic users tend to have a smaller volume of gray matter in a part of the brain associated with decision making and addiction and a marked increase in a function called brain connectivity, which researchers said may be an attempt by the brain to make up for the decreased gray matter volume.

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140 US NM: Santa Fe Pot Law Enforcement VariesWed, 12 Nov 2014
Source:Albuquerque Journal (NM)          Area:New Mexico Lines:26 Added:11/13/2014

SANTA FE - Santa Fe police continue to file some marijuana citations under state criminal law despite a new city ordinance that reduces penalties for possession of small amounts of pot.

About two of every five citations issued since the City Council's Aug. 27 vote were issued under the state law that carries a higher potential penalty than the city ordinance.

City Councilor Signe Lindell said the council clearly asked that those cases be the lowest priority for police and that they stay in the city court system.

Police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said possession of small amounts of pot continues to be a low law enforcement priority for police.

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