Local regulations for cannabis come into focus | environment


Now that adult cannabis is legal in the state of New Mexico, local lawmakers are enacting ordinances that are in line with the law and allow the community to own, grow, manufacture, sell, and use cannabis products.

At the Taos District Commissioner meeting on Tuesday, July 20, District Attorney Randy Autoo presented a rough draft of the proposed ordinances and set a deadline for passing an amendment to the Taos District Land Use Ordinance on August 17.

“As we told you, we may have to change this by August 17th. We may also have to change this after the state completes regulation,” said Autoo.

The Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA), which was enacted in April by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham after a special legislative period, contains deadlines for the issuing of licenses to manufacturers, producers and retailers.

The first deadline for manufacturing licenses is September 1st. Recreational cannabis production is slated to begin in the fall. Retail sales to the general public will begin no later than April 1, 2022.

The CRA also established a Cannabis Control Division (CCD) within the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department to help local jurisdictions understand the law and provide guidance in drafting new regulations. The CCD spoke to other states (Colorado, Washington, and New York) that have already gone through the process.

“We take a look at other state laws and how they have been interpreted – to look for guidance on this type of push-and-pull between local control and state law and authority,” said Autoo.

The CRA enables local jurisdictions to impose reasonable time, location, and legal restrictions on cannabis operations, including restrictions on license density (ex.

Other allowable restrictions include opening hours for retailers and cannabis consumption areas (which are analogous to bars but serve cannabis instead of liquor). Local jurisdictions can also stipulate minimum distances from schools and daycare centers.

“This draft currently knows no distances to churches,” said Autoo. “We are carrying out further investigations for this. And we will share this opinion with you. So that could be one of the amendments that we will table before August 18. “

“In my opinion, it can’t be all churches,” said AnJanette Brush, Taos district chairman. “We have a very rich spiritual community here. We have an ashram. We have temples, we say churches – these should be places of worship. “

Other restrictions being discussed are cannabis sales on Sundays and Christmas Day.

The CRA also prevents local jurisdictions from banning the operation of cannabis businesses, including preventing cannabis products from being transported on public roads. Local jurisdictions cannot completely prohibit a licensee from operating or prevent a cannabis company from identifying as such.

The law allows use by adults (21 years of age or older) in a private or cannabis use area and possession of up to two ounces. It also allows adults to grow cannabis plants for private consumption from July 1st. Adults are allowed to grow six plants per person in a household, with a maximum of 12 plants.

“In my district, in El Rito, there are people who have talked about growing and converting their properties into retail. Let’s go 15 meters from our county roads, 30 meters from our county roads, could this possibly be a retail store? – – So it’s not something that’s in a residential area, “asked Mark Gallegos, Taos District Commissioner, District 2.

“That’s a good topic. I’ll talk to Planning about how we can better do this and make sure you have this information in August to see how this is being implemented and how it will affect rural areas “said automatic.

“We have not focused on that in this draft. There are really very few bans on farmers. Agriculture is considered to be agriculture for the purposes of the law,” he continued. “So what we were trying to do mostly was to place growers because what they have to do is place them in greenhouses or buildings. They produce about four crops a year so it’s an intense agribusiness as opposed to a traditional field.” from Frijoles or something. “

The Taos County Commission will meet again at 9:00 a.m. on August 17th to discuss local regulations for the cannabis industry before the new rules are finalized. Community members are invited to attend the meeting at taoscounty.org and to contact the Commission by phone at 575-737-6310.

This report is one in a series on the Cannabis Regulation Act.