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Border Patrol Seizing Cannabis Shipments In New Mexico

Traffic crosses from Mexico into the United States at a border station in Santa Teresa, N.M., in this photo made in March 14, 2012. The U.S. Border Patrol is asserting its right to seize cannab

The U.S. Border Patrol has been actively seizing cannabis shipments, including state-authorized supplies, in southern New Mexico. Licensed cannabis providers have reported over $300,000 worth of marijuana confiscated at highway checkpoints in recent months.

New Mexico's governor recently engaged in discussions with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the disruptions faced by the cannabis industry in the state. Concerns were raised about the heightened scrutiny faced by cannabis companies in New Mexico compared to other states with regulated markets that are not along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Despite authorized cannabis sales exceeding $1 billion in New Mexico since the recreational market was regulated two years ago, transport drivers have faced delays and seizures at permanent Border Patrol checkpoints located about 60 miles from the border.

The governor's office confirmed that federal policies on legalized cannabis remain unchanged, but efforts are underway to protect New Mexico's cannabis industry from such disruptions.

Managers from multiple cannabis businesses have petitioned the state's congressional delegation to ensure the free passage of cannabis shipments. They have requested the return of seized products or monetary compensation for losses incurred due to seizures at Border Patrol checkpoints.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich emphasized that the Department of Homeland Security should prioritize combating illicit fentanyl over seizing cannabis shipments that comply with state laws. He stressed the importance of using resources to enhance community safety.

The U.S. Border Patrol reiterated that cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, emphasizing that its sale, possession, and distribution are illegal despite state-level legalization. Individuals found violating the Controlled Substances Act may face inadmissibility, seizure of goods, fines, or arrest.

Local cannabis businesses, like High Maintenance based in Socorro, have expressed confusion and uncertainty due to the sudden seizures by Border Patrol. The disruptions have raised concerns about compliance with consumer-safety testing standards, as testing labs are located beyond the Border Patrol checkpoints.

The situation has left cannabis producers and transporters in southern New Mexico grappling with the implications of these seizures and seeking clarity on the directives governing cannabis transportation in the region.

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