Have thoughts on how the city of Santa Fe should address recreational cannabis?
The City Council is requesting community feedback at its Wednesday meeting to help guide potential alterations to its land-use code in preparation for the arrival of legalized recreational cannabis.
According to a city news release, the City Council will ask for input during its public comment period, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Residents may speak for up to two minutes during public comment or provide written feedback.
The request comes as New Mexico municipalities and counties scramble to iron out rules for the industry. The state’s Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect June 29, allowing for adult possession of cannabis for individuals 21 and older and setting the framework for the state’s commercial cannabis market.
It also effectively started the clock to craft local cannabis regulations. The state plans to start processing applications for producers by Sept. 1.
Shortly before the Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect, some city councilors said they didn’t believe the city would have a set of guidelines in place by Sept. 1. City officials informed the council earlier this month Oct. 1 was a more likely deadline.
Jason Kluck, interim director of the city’s Planning and Land Use Department, said a subcommittee of the city Planning Commission already has started meeting on the matter, but the panel likely won’t see a set of recommendations until Aug. 5.
Though some cities, including Albuquerque, have already voted on a set of draft guidelines, Linda Trujillo, superintendent of the state Regulation and Licensing Department, and John Blair, the agency’s deputy superintendent, said Santa Fe is in line with many other municipalities.
While the city cannot ban recreational cannabis cultivation and shops, it can make decisions about density, operating hours of cannabis businesses, consumption areas, use of tax funds and other factors related to the industry.
Kluck noted the recommendations being vetted by the subcommittee are fairly similar to what Santa Fe County is exploring.
The county Planning Commission approved a set of recommendations July 15. The Santa Fe County Commission will examine the recommendations at a special meeting Friday.
The county Planning Commission ditched its most contentious proposal, which would have limited personal plant production to indoor facilities. It reversed course after receiving feedback from community members who felt the provision was too restrictive.
Some of the proposed provisions before the County Commission include a 300-foot separation between cannabis businesses and schools or day care centers, 200 feet between each cannabis business and a rule allowing cannabis producers to cultivate product in the same zoning areas as dairy farms.
The county also is exploring “consumption areas,” where cannabis products can be consumed by anyone 21 or older.