New Mexico

Hundreds gather for cannabis festival in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - It's billed as New Mexico's largest medical marijuana festival. 

Hundreds gathered on Sunday at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds for "CANNAville."

Organizers of the festival said their goal is to change the stigma that comes with marijuana.

"This is the fifth event of its kind within New Mexico in the last year," said Ray Vigil, co-owner of Southwest Vape and organizer of the event. "We're bringing together the general public and the patients so we can bring awareness and education."

Doctors with Buen Salud Inc. made themselves available to provide medical marijuana evaluations. 

Medical marijuana has been legal in New Mexico since 2007. Recently State Representative Bill McCamley, (D) Las Cruces, introduced a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. That bill was tabled last week, and McCamley told ABC-7 it most likely won't make it past committee during this legislative session.

"We think it's important, that everybody knows, it's not about -- they have a stigma that it's just for hippies, and things like that," Vigil said. "We have patients anywhere from one year old, all the way to 90 years old. We want to make sure that everybody understands that it's real beneficial."

There was no marijuana being sold at the festival, because it can only be purchased at medical marijuana dispensaries. There was no age limit, and a medical card was not required to enter the festival. 

There were several vendors selling pipes, bongs and clothing featuring marijuana leaves. 

"We've seen all sorts of people, from young adults to older people," glass-blower Steve Alva said. "It's been a good group -- a mix of different types of people." 

Alva is based out of El Paso. He said he's notices a difference in sales when he's in New Mexico. Medical marijuana is not legal in Texas.

"I'm definitely pressed to come over to [New Mexico] because of that," Alva said. "It's all tobacco use in Texas and over here, I can get a lot more use out of these. It's definitely something that brings me out here."

Organizers said the next "CANNAville" will be in Roswell later this month.

"We're getting rid of that taboo that cannabis is just bad. It's not," Marlo Flores, owner of Southwest Vape said. "It's helping so many people." 

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