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

May 5, 2021

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has ruled that the New Mexico Department of Health overstepped intentions for a medical cannabis program by limiting who can get marijuana in the state. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the ruling by Judge Matthew Wilson on Monday came after a complaint was filed by New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health. It's the state's largest medical cannabis producer. The state statute allows people withauthorization in medical cannabis programs in other states the ability to buy medical marijuana in New Mexico. Ultra Health argued that more than 5,000 people mostly from out of state were wrongly denied access. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico cannabis regulators says they will stop charging taxes on medical marijuana and begin revising tight limits on pot cultivation come June 29. That is the first deadline under a new law that legalizes recreational marijuana possession and, eventually, public sales. Two Cabinet secretaries made the announcement in a letter Wednesday to licensed medical marijuana business that have voiced concerns about a potential run on pot supplies and shortages. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enacted legislation last month that outlines the oversight, licensing and taxation of the recreational cannabis sector and sets an April 1, 2022, deadline for the first nonmedical marijuana sales.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico may require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to return to campus in the fall. The university on Monday posted a proposed vaccine requirement along with a statement on its plans to return to in-person instruction and regular campus activities. The university said it was seeking comment on the proposed requirement. The proposal says the requirement would apply to students and staff "unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation." A New Mexico State University spokesman said NMSU officials encourage employees and staff to to get the vaccine but haven't decided to impose a requirement. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — From Washington to American Southwest Indigenous communities, top government officials, family members and advocates are gathering as part of a call to action to address the ongoing problem of violence against Indigenous women and children. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is commemorating the day Wednesday as female motorcyclists take to the streets in Phoenix and advocates use social media to raise awareness. As part of the Washington ceremony, a red memorial shawl with the names of missing and slain Indigenous women was draped across a long table to remember the lives behind what Haaland called alarming and unacceptable statistics. More names were added Wednesday.


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company used Wednesday's anniversary to kick off an auction for a seat on its first crew spaceflight in July. Elon Musk's SpaceX will use its newly returned capsule to launch a billionaire in September, along with a pair of contest winners and a hospital worker. Shepard rocketed from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. To date, 579 people have flown in space. That number is expected to soar with upcoming tourist flights.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death. Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,543 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,282 known deaths.  Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health is urging parents to register children ages 12-15 for eventual access to coronavirus vaccines when shots are approved for lower age groups. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12 and older next week, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year. Health Department spokesman David Morgan says the agency encourages parents to register children right away with the state's vaccination website to help ensure access later. The latest state data shows more than 45% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A special congressional election is underway for an Albuquerque-based seat that has been dominated by Democrats since 2009. Early voting by absentee ballot began Tuesday as major party candidates clashed in their first public debate. Six candidates are vying for the 1st Congressional District post to succeed Deb Haaland after her departure from Congress to lead the Interior Department. Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury and Republican state Sen. Mark Moores are at the forefront of the contest that includes a Libertarian contender and an experienced independent. Republican Party leaders believe they have a rare opportunity to flip the district with the possibility of low turnout.