BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Los Alamos County Planning & Zoning Commission will consider text amendments to Chapter 16 of the County Code during its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28 to regulate cannabis in the County now that it has been legalized in the state. The P&Z Commission will forward its decision to the County Council for discussion and action at a later date.
The proposed Text Amendment would bring the County into compliance with the Cannabis Regulation Act which legalizes the production, manufacturing, sale, and adult-consumption of cannabis throughout the State of New Mexico. According to the County, the Act expressly defines and limits the amount of local control a municipality or county can impose on the adult-use cannabis industry through its power to regulate land use within their territorial limits.
The Text Amendment being submitted by the County’s Community Development Department includes the following proposed provisions:
(a) Cannabis cultivation is allowed, provided that the establishment complies with all applicable local and State requirements and licensing.
(b) No cannabis cultivation facility shall be licensed if located within 300 feet of a school or daycare facility or within a residential zone district.
(c) This use shall require a special use permit pursuant to Section 16-156 when within 300 feet of another cannabis cultivation or manufacturing establishment.
(d) All activities associated with this use must be conducted within the fully enclosed portions of a building.
(e) Associated outdoor storage is allowed, provided it is compliant with the standards of Section 18-44.
(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to plant, cultivate, grow, produce, or manufacture cannabis, as defined in NMSA § 26-2C-12, on County-owned Land.
The proposed Text Amendment also adds a section to Chapter 16 of the County Code dealing with Cannabis Retail which would read as follows: .
(a) This use must comply with all applicable local and state regulations and licensing.
(b) No cannabis retail establishment shall be licensed if located within 300 feet of any residential zone district, a school or daycare center.
(c) No cannabis retail establishment shall be licensed if within 300 feet of another cannabis retail establishment without a special use permit. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(c) No cannabis retail establishment shall be licensed if within 300 feet of another cannabis retail establishment. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(d) It shall be unlawful for any cannabis retail establishment licensed pursuant to this development code to remain open to the public at any time other than between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. daily.
(e) A cannabis retail establishment may have designated indoor cannabis vaping and outdoor cannabis vaping and smoking areas for those twenty-one years old and older. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(e) Cannabis retail establishments shall not be permitted to have designated indoor cannabis vaping and outdoor cannabis vaping and smoking areas. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to purchase or sell cannabis, as defined in NMSA § 26-2C12, on County-owned Land.
A news release from the County says the CRA prohibits a municipality or county from:
- completely prohibiting the operation of licensed adult-use cannabis operations within its boundaries;
- preventing the transportation of cannabis products on public roads when such transport is in compliance with the Act;
- prohibiting or limiting signage attached to or located on licensed premises that identifies the premises as a cannabis establishment;
- requiring a licensed premises or a cannabis consumption area to relocate more than three hundred feet from a school or daycare center that was in existence at the time the cannabis establishment was licensed; and,
- requiring an existing licensee to relocate, or prohibit a person from producing homegrown cannabis as provided for in the Act.
The P&Z meeting will be held in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building, 1000 Central Avenue but will also be virtual via Zoom at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/94986121960?pwd=QmtGT1VtdTJwRko3ZWNFc1Z2cmltZz09 Passcode: 628120