ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 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 by crime victims.
The review released this week by the agency’s inspector general identified $7,630 in questionable costs for four marijuana purchases.
While medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, officials said it is banned under federal law and grants awarded to the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission cannot be used to pay for it.
Auditors have conducted similar reviews of programs in other states, and federal officials say it appears to be the first time the grants were misused to buy medical marijuana.
The commission’s director, Frank Zubia, said Wednesday that the spending for medical marijuana was unintentional and that the commission reimbursed the federal government for the purchases.
“Our staff is passionate and conscientiously committed to serving victims and look forward to maintaining a good relationship with both the state and the federal government to ensure victims’ needs are met,” he said.
While the federal government…