A working group studying proposals to legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico decided against recommending the state operate marijuana stores.

Instead, the task force set up by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham proposes the state license companies to grow and sell recreational marijuana, and regulate their stores. Cities would be responsible for decisions on zoning and the number of stores allowed in a given area.

The scenario would be similar to the system currently in place for medical marijuana in New Mexico, and that of other states where recreational cannabis is legal.

“It mirrors the medical marijuana program we have today,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, who leads the working group. “It’s a compromise between letting experts regulate the industry and letting cities decide how they’e going to operate.”

Lujan Grisham has said she will make legalization of adult use of cannabis a priority for next year’s 30-day session of the Legislature. A bill to legalize recreational cannabis passed the House earlier this year but did not clear the Senate, where such legislation has died at the hands of more conservative members of both political parties.

The Cannabis Legalization Working Group — comprising lawmakers, Cabinet secretaries, members of the medical marijuana industry and others — plans to give the governor a recommendation in October that could be considered in interim legislative committee meetings. The group’s final meeting is set for Sept. 25 in Santa Fe.

Davis said Tuesday the group plans to recommend a process for current medical marijuana producers to also operate as growers and sellers of recreational marijuana.

Reporter

Jens Erik Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.