BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Mayor @ losalamosreporter
The Los Alamos County Planning & Zoning Commission will review text changes to Chapter 16 of the County Code during its session on Wednesday, July 28 at 5:30 p.m. to regulate cannabis in the county after it is legalized in the state. The P&Z commission will forward its decision to the district council for discussion and processing at a later date.
The proposed text change would bring the county into compliance with the Cannabis Regulation Act, which legalizes the production, manufacture, sale, and use of cannabis by adults throughout the state of New Mexico. According to the county, the law explicitly defines and limits the amount of local control that a county or county can impose on the adult cannabis industry through its power to regulate land use within its territorial boundaries.
The text change submitted by the county’s community development department includes the following proposed provisions:
(a) Cannabis cultivation is permitted provided the operation meets all applicable local and state requirements and licenses.
(b) No cannabis cultivation facility may be licensed if it is located within 100 meters of a school or daycare center or within a residential area.
(c) This use requires a special use permit under Sections 16-156 when located within 90 meters of another cannabis growing or manufacturing facility.
(d) All activities related to this use must be carried out within the fully enclosed parts of a building.
(e) Associated outdoor storage is permitted provided it meets the standards of Section 18-44.
(f) It is unlawful for any person to grow, grow, produce, or manufacture cannabis as defined in NMSA § 26-2C-12 on county land.
The proposed text change also adds a section on cannabis retailing to Chapter 16 of the County Code, which would read:.
(a) This use must comply with all applicable local and state codes and licenses.
(b) No retail cannabis business may be licensed if it is within 100 meters of a residential district, school, or daycare center.
(c) No retail cannabis business may be licensed without a special usage permit if it is within 100 meters of another retail cannabis business. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(c) No retail cannabis business may be licensed if it is within 100 meters of another retail cannabis business. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(d) It is unlawful for a cannabis retail company licensed under this Development Code to be open to the public at any time other than 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day.
(e) A retail cannabis company may have designated indoor cannabis vaping and outdoor cannabis vaping and smoking areas for individuals aged 21 and over. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(e) Cannabis retail businesses are not permitted to have designated indoor cannabis vaporizing areas and outdoor cannabis vaporizing and smoking areas. (POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE)
(f) It is illegal for any person to buy or sell cannabis as defined in NMSA § 26-2C12 on land owned by the county.
A county press release stated that the CRA prohibits a municipality or county from:
- Completely prohibit the operation of licensed adult cannabis operations within its borders;
- Preventing cannabis products from being transported on public roads if that transport is in accordance with the law;
- the prohibition or restriction of signs posted on or on licensed premises that identify the premises as a cannabis establishment;
- Require relocation of licensed premises or cannabis use area greater than 300 feet from a school or daycare center in existence at the time the cannabis facility was approved; and,
- Require an existing licensee to move or prohibit any person from producing home-grown cannabis in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The P&Z meeting takes place in the council chambers of the community building, 1000 Central Avenue, but also virtually via Zoom under the following link: https://zoom.us/j/94986121960?pwd=QmtGT1VtdTJwRko3ZWNFc1Z2cmltZz09 Passcode: 628120