Audit: Federal grant funds tapped for medical marijuana

FILE - In this June 26, 2015, file photo, different varieties of marijuana flowers are displayed at medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Ore. The American Medical Association agreed Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, to push for regulations requiring warnings be written on medical and recreational pot products and posted wherever they are sold, based on studies suggesting marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature birth and behavior problems in young children. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – An audit by independent investigators with the U.S. Justice Department has determined a New Mexico program that helps crime victims allowed federal grant funds to be used to reimburse the purchase of medical marijuana.

The review by the agency’s inspector general was released this week. It identified $7,630 in questioned costs.

Officials noted that while medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, the substance is still banned under federal law and not an expense that can be covered by grant funding.

New Mexico’s Crime Victims Reparation Commission has received more than $21 million in grants in recent years to help victims of crime by connecting them with counseling, therapy and other services.

Documents show the commission has changed its policies as a result of auditors’ recommendations and if medical marijuana is prescribed, it will be covered with state funding.

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