The U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) has been asked to investigate whether FBI cannabis arrest data is accurate after a Maryland policing advisory official noted that investigators have been counting arrests in areas where cannabis has been decriminalized.
Attorney Eric Sterling, member of the Montgomery County, Maryland Policing Advisory Commission, recently sent a letter of complaint to the DOJ’s Inspector General, requesting that the agency investigate why the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program is recording cannabis citations in decriminalized jurisdictions as marijuana “arrests.”
“The FBI and UCR has directed police departments to report the civil citations as ‘arrests.’ This has hugely exaggerated the number of marijuana arrests in decriminalization jurisdictions, thus exaggerating the number of drug arrests,” wrote Sterling. “Thus the accuracy of the UCR data for the nation, the states, and local jurisdictions is deeply flawed.”
Cannabis Department Sees Minimal Complaints
There have been very few complaints submitted to the New Mexico Cannabis Control Division (CCD) since it was created in April 2021. According to KRQE, reporters submitted a public records request for every complaint submitted to the CCD and found that there have only been around two dozen.
Many of the complaints were allegations that dispensaries and retailers were failing to follow state laws when selling cannabis products, including improperly labeling products or selling without a license. Some medical cannabis patients have complained that they were charged cannabis excise taxes despite the law forbidding the practice. A few complaints were made by cannabis companies concerning break-ins and robberies. There were also some complaints about cannabis products falling into the hands of minors.
The CCD takes complaints on its website. Authorities review the complaints to determine whether the CCD has jurisdictional authority in the matter before acting.
“We are not a law enforcement agency and do not have enforcement authority over criminal activities of the illicit market,” Regulation and Licensing Department spokesperson Bernice Geiger told reporters. “Likewise, the CCD does not have jurisdiction or authority concerning issues such as odors coming from cannabis production or processing facilities, local code violations, complaints against personal cultivation and consumption, etc.”
N.M. Collects First Month of Cannabis Taxes
The state of New Mexico announced that it collected $2.4 million in adult-use cannabis excise taxes from 114 retailers in the month of April.
“The adult-use cannabis industry in New Mexico clearly has gotten off to a strong start,” said Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke. “These receipts show the industry is already diversifying our economy and our tax base.”
Both the first Cannabis Excise Tax and Gross Receipts Tax payments on adult-use cannabis were due the last Wednesday of May. According to a press release from the Taxation and Revenue Department, 158 taxpayers have registered for Cannabis Excise Tax accounts, but not all of those began selling cannabis in April.