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In payments to be made through 2037, the City of Las Cruces will receive more than $9.8 million as part of opioid litigation settlement with a dozen companies that made, sold or distributed opioid painkillers, the city council learned at its Sept. 11 work session.
The money is Las Cruces’ share of the $1 billion the state of New Mexico will receive, according to a City of Las Cruces news release. Doña Ana County will receive almost $14.5 million and Sunland Park, also a participant in the litigation, will receive almost $711,000.
Settlement funds must only be used for opioid remediation, which includes treatment and prevention strategies for opioid use disorder. Settlement funds can be used on related costs such as Narcan, to educate first responders, for media campaigns, addiction recovery, and research into Opioid Use Disorder.
An Opioid Settlement Advisory Council has been formed to offer recommendations for the use of the settlement funds. Recommendations to the city council and City Council and Doña Ana County Commission are expected in April 2024.
Also at the Sept. 11 work session, the council was presented with an overview of Las Cruces’ cannabis business environment, an excise tax update and research on uses of cannabis funds by other public entities.
The city is receiving a state excise tax on the sale of cannabis due to New Mexico’s legalization of recreational sales in 2021. Since legalization of recreational cannabis sales began in Las Cruces in April 2022, the city received nearly $88,000 in cannabis excise tax revenues FY2022 and more than $847,000 in FY23.