CALL TO ACTION:
Keep Water Protections in the Cannabis Regulation Act
Dear Acequia Leaders,
Please contact the Senate THIS MORNING and urge them to remove the Senate Judiciary Committee amendment to SB 100, which would remove water protections from the Cannabis Regulation Act.
Cut and Paste Subject: Oppose SJC Amendment to SB 100 Cannabis Bill
Cut and Paste to email all Senators:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, “Campos, Pete” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Candelaria, Jacob” <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, “David Gallegos (email@example.com)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, “Jaramillo, Leo” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, “Ortiz y Pino, Jerry” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Joshua Sanchez <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, “Shendo, Benny” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, Liz Stefanics <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Wirth <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cut and Paste Sample Message:
We stand in firm opposition to the amendment made to SB 100 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The amendment was made with no public notice and no opportunity for public comment. It is an amendment that removes critical water protections from the Cannabis Regulation Act, which was passed in 2021. The purpose of the water protections was to ensure that license applicants have valid water rights and are in compliance with local water provider rules. We ask that the Senate remove this amendment in a SENATE FLOOR AMENDMENT and that the issue of water rights be addressed during the legislative interim.
We know that these protections are necessary because other states with legal cannabis (California, Oregon, Colorado, etc.) are struggling with illegal water uses. In New Mexico, many new producers mistakenly believe they can:
1) use domestic wells for commercial production,
2) pump surface water from acequias or rivers without a valid water right,
3) use residential water from mutual domestics for commercial production.
New Mexico is in a historic drought when we need more carful stewardship of our limited water resources. By removing the water protections, the State Legislature will be unleashing an industry in rural New Mexico where local institutions such as mutual domestics, acequias, and small towns need guardrails at the state level to avoid exploitation of limited water resources, especially finite groundwater. We are urging you to remove this amendment and allow time for more analysis during the legislative interim.
(your name and acequia/organization)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paula Garcia
Acequias Cry Foul on Cannabis Legislation
(Santa Fe, NM). Acequias are denouncing a last-minute gutting of water protections in the Cannabis Regulation Act. On Sunday morning, a Senate committee met to consider a bill dealing with cannabis plant count limits. Without notice or opportunity for public comment, the committee adopted an amendment eliminating existing requirements aimed at preventing illegal uses of water.
“We worked very hard with the legislature in 2021 to enact safeguards for water resources from the negative impacts of the cannabis industry,” said Paula Garcia, Executive Director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. “In a few minutes, with no opportunity for public comment, all that hard work was erased.”
Senator Pirtle, a Roswell Republican, introduced an amendment to SB 100 to remove language in the Cannabis Regulation Act requiring cannabis producers have valid water rights. The only dissenting vote was Senator Linda Lopez, the bill sponsor who called the amendment “not friendly.” Three of the committee members who are attorneys practicing cannabis law cited their own experience and argued that the water rights requirements were burdensome.
“We are calling upon the full Senate to remove the amendment that gutted the water protections,” Garcia remarked. “If the Legislature was planning to remove the water protections, stakeholders including the acequias should have been consulted.”
Harold Trujillo, President of the NMAA and a member of the Cannabis Advisory Committee, countered remarks by the committee that the removal of water protections would benefit smaller producers. “We are concerned that the cause of equity is being misrepresented,” said Trujillo. “The root cause of inequity is the lack of capital for micro-producers. Requiring validity checks for water actually ensures water equity for rural communities such as mutual domestics and acequias.”
In a public meeting in November 2021, the OSE reported that they had received approximately twenty requests for water rights validation and that the majority did not meet validity checks. “We have learned from other states as well as specific examples of medical producers in New Mexico that the cannabis industry is unique in its apparent problem of illegal water use,” remarked Garcia. “As one of the most water-scarce states in the nation, New Mexico needs extra safeguards for our precious water.”