State attorneys review expungement cases

District attorneys across New Mexico will be reviewing criminal cannabis cases that are potentially eligible for expungement now that the state has legalized marijuana.

Under the Criminal Record Expungement Act, all public records of crimes that were legalized by the Cannabis Regulation Act are automatically expunged after two years. Records containing additional crimes will remain, but the cannabis crime will be removed.

According to KRQE, Bernalillo County 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s office is currently reviewing over 11,000 cannabis-related cases for expungement. But district attorneys are also reportedly objecting to some expungements in cases where offenders were arrested with large quantities of cannabis.

A spokesperson for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s office told reporters that it will object to 53 such cases—an objection rate of 0.45 percent.

The Department of Public Safety says they tallied 151,640 cases across the state for review under the expungement law.

DOJ Calls Cannabis Patients “Dangerous”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that a lawsuit to overturn federal policies to bar cannabis users from buying guns be dismissed. In its request, the department said that gun rights were reserved for “law-abiding citizens” and claimed that it would be “dangerous to trust regular marijuana users to exercise sound judgment.”

“Two related historical traditions are analogous: the tradition of excluding those who engage in criminal activity from the right to bear arms, and the tradition of disarming those whose status or behavior would make it dangerous for them to possess firearms,” said the DOJ in its motion to dismiss.

The lawsuit was filed by Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried and medical cannabis patients who were denied firearms because of the cannabis use.

Currently, those purchasing a firearm are required to fill out a federal form that asks if they’re using illegal drugs, including cannabis. Lying on a federal form is illegal, but cannabis users who answer truthfully will be denied the sale.

Fried, a Democrat, has said that the lawsuit isn’t a reflection on her views about gun regulations. “I’m suing the Biden Administration because people’s rights are being limited,” she tweeted. “Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal. This is about people’s rights and their freedoms to responsibly have both.”

N.M. Pot Sales Set Record

State officials say total cannabis sales hit a new record in July.

According to a press release, licensed New Mexico cannabis retailers reported over $40 million in cannabis sales—a new record for total monthly sales. More than $16 million of that total was from medical cannabis sales, and more than $23 million was from adult-use.

“These numbers show that the impressive sales generated in the first month of legalized recreational cannabis sales were no fluke – and this is only the beginning,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.