US Secretary of Homeland Security Tells New Mexico Governor They Will Continue Seizing Legal Marijuana

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has confronted the US Secretary of Homeland Security regarding Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision to begin seizing massive amounts of marijuana from state-licensed marijuana businesses in New Mexico, and arresting employees.

In recent weeks the CBP has confiscated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana transported by marijuana companies that are legal under New Mexico law. A handful of marijuana employees have been arrested, with one recording showing a Border Patrol agent saying “We’ve been instructed to seize all cannabis—all illegal products. It’s still federally illegal.”

Now, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has met with Alejandro Mayorkas, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, to question why these seizures have happened and to request them to stop.

During the conversation, Mayorkas told Governor Grisham that there has been no change in federal law, and thus the seizures will likely continue.

“Gov. Lujan Grisham spoke with Secretary Mayorkas on Wednesday and expressed her concern about the federal seizure of cannabis from licensed distributors in New Mexico”, Jodi McGinnis Porter, Deputy Communications Director for Governor Grisham, told us via e-mail. “During the conversation, the governor noted that industry operators in border states where cannabis is legal appear to be at greater risk of scrutiny and arrest by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents than those in non-border states that have legalized cannabis.”

Porter says Secretary Mayorkas told the governor that “federal policies with respect to legalized cannabis have not changed.”

Federal policy of course has marijuana as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal for all purposes.

Porter says the governor and her administration “are working on a strategy to protect New Mexico’s cannabis industry.”

The CBP’s seizure of legal marijuana comes at a time when the DEA is conducting a review that could lead to marijuana being rescheduled, with President Biden’s press sectary saying he wants to go even further by decriminalizing marijuana entirely.

In a public statement Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) said “Stopping the flow of illicit fentanyl into our country should be the Department of Homeland Security’s focus at these checkpoints, not seizing cannabis that’s being transported in compliance with state law. New Mexicans are depending on federal law enforcement to do everything they can to keep our communities safe. Our resources should be used to maximize residents’ safety, not distract from it.”

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