Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
While recreational cannabis sales became legit last Friday in the Land of Enchantment, there shall be no Rocky Mountain highs in the federal forests.
Julie Anne Overton, Santa Fe National Forest spokeswoman, sent out a news release this week clarifying that cannabis is “still illegal” on forest lands.
“Although New Mexico has legalized recreational use of marijuana,” she said, “the Santa Fe National Forest wants to remind visitors that nothing has changed within forest boundaries.”
Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug and possession on federal lands is illegal.
A closure order, effective until Dec. 31, 2023, bans the possession, storage or transportation of cannabis and authorizes U.S. Forest Service law enforcement to cite those caught with the devil’s lettuce. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and up to six months in prison, or both.
According to the order, anyone with a Forest Service permit “specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act” is exempt. Overton said the exemption clause is “boilerplate that goes from closure to closure” and nobody should get their hopes up – the possibility of someone actually issuing such a permit is “extremely remote.”
“The order prohibiting marijuana on the SFNF is typically renewed every five years,” Overton said in the news release.
This isn’t the first time the Santa Fe National Forest has reiterated its house rules: in June it renewed its order banning nudity, for instance.