Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

Aug 9, 2019

New Mexico prepares to overhaul medical marijuana marketSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — 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.


Judge: Man who killed 5 as a teen to receive adult sentenceALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — 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.


The Latest: New Mexico county tracks drug use with GIS mapALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — 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 RuidosoRUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — 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.


Interactive border wall mural tells stories of deportedTIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — 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.


Law governing adoptions of Native American children upheldNEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of a 1978 law giving preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children.Friday's decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal upholds the Indian Child Welfare Act and reverses a Texas-based federal judge. It comes in a case involving non-Indian families in multiple states who adopted or sought to adopt Native American children.Opponents of the law called it an unconstitutional race-based intrusion on states' powers to govern adoptions. But the 5th Circuit majority disagreed, saying the law's definition of an "Indian child" is a political classification.The decision was a victory for supporters of the law who say it's needed to protect and preserve Native American culture and families.


Documents: Epstein ducked sex abuse questions in depositionNEW YORK (AP) — Newly released court documents show that financier Jeffrey Epstein repeatedly declined to answer questions about sex abuse as part of a lawsuit.A partial transcript of the September 2016 deposition was included in hundreds of pages of documents placed in a public file Friday by a federal appeals court in New York.The 66-year-old Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges after his July 6 arrest.Epstein was asked in the videotaped deposition whether it was standard operating procedure for his former girlfriend to bring underage girls to him to sexually abuse. Epstein replied "Fifth," citing the constitutional amendment protecting people against incriminating themselves.


New Mexico governor wary of fast reforms on US terrorismSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The administration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is throwing cold water on the idea of a special legislative session to address concerns of domestic terrorism.Lujan Grisham's office issued an unusual statement from a senior policy adviser on Thursday that said it would be wrong to call a special session without more planning.In response to mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf has suggested the governor reconvene the Legislature, which adjourned for the year in March.Adviser Dominic Gabello says newly signed gun-control legislation has expanded background checks on private gun sales and better protects domestic-violence victims.He says work is under way on a "red flag" bill to seize weapons from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others with a judge's authorization.