The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) recently announced the launch of the new Cannabis and Hemp Bureau with the start of the fiscal year. The agency says the new bureau will help regulators ensure that cannabis and hemp-based food products meet food safety standards.

According to a press release from the department, the Cannabis and Hemp Bureau is funded by a $449,000 recurring appropriation from the legislature. NMED currently regulates 33 hemp facilities and has processed 160 self-certifications for cannabis edible facilities across the state.

The new bureau will be working closely with the Regulation and Licensing Department’s (RLD) Cannabis Control Division (CCD), which oversees the adult-use cannabis market in New Mexico. “The Regulation and Licensing Department looks forward to partnering with the Cannabis and Hemp Bureau to ensure public health and safety for this robust and growing industry,” said RLD Superintendent Linda Trujillo.

VA Cannabis Amendment Rejected in Committee

Last week the House Rules Committee rejected appropriations amendments that would have increased veteran access to medical cannabis.

The amendment would have blocked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from using funds to stop VA doctors from recommending medical cannabis treatments for veterans. The amendment would be similar to the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment that blocks the Department of Justice (DOJ) from spending funds on prosecuting medical cannabis businesses in states that have legalized the drug.

Chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) argued that the issue is inappropriate for spending legislation. The House Rules Committee rejected the amendment, meaning it won’t receive a vote in the House this year.

Co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Brian Mast (R-FL) issued a response to the committee’s decision. “We will not rest until Congress has addressed the perverse impact that failed federal prohibition is having on our nation’s heroes and their health,” they said.

Meanwhile, the House voted to include a defense spending bill amendment that would allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend cannabis as a medical treatment. Doctors would still be barred from prescribing the drug, however.

European Countries Discuss Legalization

Officials from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands met earlier this month to discuss legalizing cannabis.

While no policy decisions were made at the meeting, plans were made to hold more discussions in the future and possibly include other European nations. The officials from Germany, Luxembourg and Malta also signed a joint statement declaring their intent to reexamine cannabis policies, noting that “the status quo is not a tenable option.”

The Netherlands notably declined to sign the statement. Malta has already legalized cannabis cultivation and possession, although it has not legalized a commercial marijuana market.