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New Mexico News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST

MEDICAL MARIJUANA-TAXES

Court: Medical marijuana can't be taxed in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is letting stand a ruling by a lower court that found cannabis purchases by medical marijuana patients should not have been subject to gross receipts tax. The Supreme Court issued its order Wednesday. In a 2020 ruling, the New Mexico Court of Appeals likened medical marijuana to other prescriptions, which are untaxed in New Mexico. The case stemmed from requests for refunds by producers in 2014 and again in 2018. The state Taxation and Revenue Department had denied those claims. The agency said it was disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to quash its review of the case.

MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO RULES

Marijuana rule changes spark criticism in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The agency charged with setting up New Mexico's marijuana industry is proposing changes to existing rules less than a month before recreational sales are scheduled to begin. Some who are working on opening new businesses criticized the Cannabis Control Division during a public meeting Tuesday, saying the agency is playing with the rules before the game begins. Division officials have acknowledged the challenge of establishing a new industry in a little over eight months and said some changes are needed. The division has received more than 800 applications for business licenses across all sectors of the industry.

AP-US-CLIMATE-CHANGE-COST

As climate change costs mount, Biden seeks to price damages

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) — Economists say the costs of climate change are growing as global warming happens more quickly than expected and its impacts become better understood -- from crop losses due to drought, to lessened worker productivity because of the heat. The Biden administration wants to put a price tag on those damages to justify its climate policies. Republicans and business groups say the emphasis on future climate damages will hobble the economy, especially the energy industry. A Louisiana federal judge has blocked the administration from using an interim cost estimate of $51 in damages per ton of greenhouse gas emitted. Administration officials say that could delay dozens of pending rules and are appealing.

ELECTION 2022-REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

New Mexico Republicans compete to appear on primary ballot

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Party contenders for Congress and statewide elected office are scheduled to compete for positions on the ballot ahead of the June primary election. A pre-primary convention Saturday is scheduled to bring together local GOP delegates from across the state to meet and listen to candidates. Five contenders are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, including state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque. The convention will determine who gets on the primary ballot with at least 20% of endorsement votes and who gets top billing with the highest approval.

AP-US-TRIBAL-WATER-SETTLEMENTS

Haaland: 16 tribal water settlements will get $1.7 billion

PHOENIX (AP) — The Biden administration will use $1.7 billion from the recently enacted federal infrastructure bill to fund 16 tribal water rights settlements. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the funding Tuesday during a visit to Arizona. The money will ensure that tribes get access to water they've been promised but have been unable to use because of a lack of funding for infrastructure to store and move it. Access to reliable, clean water and basic sanitation facilities on tribal lands remains a challenge for hundreds of thousands of people.

COLD CASE RAPE-MURDER

New Mexico man guilty in 1980 killing of 79-year-old woman

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A New Mexico man has been convicted of raping and killing a 79-year-old woman in Southern California more than four decades ago. Sixty-four-year-old Andre Lepere was convicted Tuesday in Orange County. He was accused of killing Viola Hagenkord, whose body was found in her Anaheim bedroom in 1980. Authorities say DNA collected at the scene was reexamined last year and tied Lepere to the crime scene. At his trial, Lepere claimed he'd had consensual sex with the woman —a claim that the prosecutor called ridiculous. Lepere will be sentenced last month. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

AP-US-PLACE-NAMES-DEROGATORY-TERMS

Proposal to nix derogatory term targets hundreds of US sites

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials have come up with a list of potential replacement names for hundreds of geographic features in three dozen states that include the word "squaw." U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in November formally declared the term derogatory and initiated a process to remove the term from use by the federal government and to replace other existing derogatory place names. The list was announced Tuesday and includes sites in New Mexico, Arizona, California and many other states. The agency will host virtual meetings to consult with tribes in March. A task force will prioritize the replacement names and make recommendations to the Board on Geographic Names before it meets later this year.

BALLOON FIESTA-FAA RULE

Albuquerque balloon fiesta seeks waiver of FAA tracking rule

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers of Albuquerque's international balloon fiesta are seeking a waiver from federal aviation officials, saying a requirement that aircraft have specific tracking technology could affect the annual event. The Federal Aviation Administration rule affects most of the airspace above New Mexico's largest city. The agency granted a waiver for last year's fiesta, and event officials tell the Albuquerque Journal they are seeking a similar exemption for this year's 50th anniversary celebration. Balloonists say the rule remains a problem as it prevents passengers from getting expansive views from higher flights and bars pilots from more scenic locations such as the Rio Grande.