Eddy County’s Board of County Commissioners passed an amended ordinance regulating medical and recreational cannabis establishments in the county’s unincorporated areas Nov. 16.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to add a distance of 300 feet between residences and cannabis operations in areas outside of Carlsbad, Loving, Hope and Artesia.
District 5 Commissioner Sarah Cordova voted against the ordinance as amended.
“I think it’s important to protect the property values of anybody in Eddy County,” said District 4 Commissioner Steve McCutcheon.
The ordinance regulates recreational and medical establishments, other cannabis businesses and production of cannabis and cannabis products as required by the Cannabis Regulation Act. Potential cannabis business owners, under the ordinance, must seek a permit from the Community Services Department.
The New Mexico Legislature passed House Bill 2 (HB-2), the Cannabis Regulation Act, during a special session earlier this year. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the legislation in April.
Eddy County’s Planning and Development Advisory Committee adjusted the original ordinance Oct. 20 after county commissioners directed staff to clarify wording and make other adjustments at an Oct. 5 meeting, wrote Eddy County Community Services Assistant Director Steve McCrosskey in a memo to commissioners.
“I think the planning and development group took the instruction from the commission back and worked it again. Some of the modifications that wound up in the ordinance weren’t exactly in alignment with comments and instructions from the commission,” said Eddy County Manager Allen Davis.
He said the ordinance mirrored state law.
“It sets out the terms and conditions by which those establishments work under that state statute and provides provisions that would incorporate the needs and expectations of the county proper. It provides instruction and rules on how these businesses can work in Eddy County,” Davis said.
District 2 County Commissioner Jon Henry criticized portions of the Cannabis Act which delegated regulations to cities and counties.
‘They passed a bad bill with absolutely no regulation in it, with no ramifications in it. They have done a poor job as usual and the have dumped it on the County,” he said.
Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, the sale of recreational cannabis in New Mexico becomes legal in April 2022.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.