‘They’re taking all of our cannabis,’ New Mexico gov says of Homeland Security

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she was expressing her “frustration with federal interference” in her state’s regulated cannabis industry when she criticized the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in audio leaked last week.

“They’re saying they’re worried about fentanyl, so they’re taking all of our cannabis,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham was in Washington, D.C., for meetings with Homeland Security Secretary Alex Mayorkas after a series of incidents in which employees of marijuana businesses licensed in New Mexico were stopped and detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Half-dozen incidents, minimum

At least six such stops have been reported to state regulators by licensed New Mexico marijuana businesses, according to an MJBizDaily report, with CBP seizing at least 70 pounds of regulated product.

In the leaked audio recording, which Lujan Grisham’s office verified as authentic but “unauthorized” and “edited,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the governor can be heard speaking on the phone to a Biden administration official about a meeting she had with Mayorkas.

“This is what the secretary said to me, just so you know,” Lujan Grisham can be heard saying. “‘Oh, who cares, they make a lot of money.’

“So I was really offended by that. Shame on him.”

Small businesses a concern

The governor noted that New Mexico’s licensing structure is small-business friendly – and that losing a carload of product to a federal seizure is particularly galling for a such companies.

“We are the only state that lets baby producers in,” she said, according to the audio. “They lose a load, their business goes belly-up.”

In a follow-up post Saturday to X, formerly known as Twitter, the governor said her “candid conversation reveals my commitment to our small businesses and patients who rely on medical cannabis.”

“Frustration with federal interference highlights my dedication to fighting for what’s right for New Mexicans,” she added.