An ordinance regulating recreational cannabis in Carlsbad addressed time, place and manner restrictions, said Denise Madrid-Boyea, attorney for the City of Carlsbad.
Carlsbad City Council passed the ordinance Oct. 26.
“In order to ensure the safety of the public, especially for individuals under age 21, we have enacted this ordinance to address the time, place and manner issues,” Madrid-Boyea said.
“Carlsbad has zoning for all businesses and all residences and so we have enacted an ordinance that allows cannabis businesses in certain zones.”
Counties and municipalities across New Mexico sought ways to regulate recreational cannabis after the New Mexico Legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation Act, House Bill 2 during a special session earlier this year. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the legislation days after it passed.
“The City’s Planning Department, legal department, clerk’s office, police department, and utilities department have worked together to build a comprehensive ordinance intended to provide a safe and orderly framework for the recreational possession, sale, manufacture, production, cultivation, transport, and consumption of cannabis and cannabis derived products,” wrote City of Carlsbad Planning Director Jeff Patterson to councilors.
Madrid-Boyea said cannabis sales are limited to Rural Residential Districts (R-R), Commercial 1 Districts (C-1), Commercial 2 (C-2) Districts and Industrial Districts (I).
The Rural Residential District is intended to provide for areas that will accommodate agricultural, ranching, and natural resource uses and very low-density residential uses, until such time as other development is appropriate, read City of Carlsbad zoning ordinances.
The Commercial 1 District is intended to accommodate neighborhood-scale retail, office, and customer service uses. Such uses are regulated in order to reduce adverse impacts on surrounding residential development, per zoning ordinances.
Commercial 2 District is intended to accommodate community and regional-scale retail and commercial uses. Such uses are regulated in order to be compatible with surrounding uses and existing infrastructure.
The Industrial District is intended to accommodate heavy and/or concentrated fabrication, production, research, manufacturing and industrial uses, according to City of Carlsbad zoning ordinances.
Madrid Boyea said cannabis sales are not allowed in Residential 1 District (R-1) and Residential 2 District (R-2).
The Residential 1 District is intended to accommodate moderate density single-family residential development and to provide land-use protection for areas that develop in such a manner. There shall be a maximum of one primary residence per lot for R-1 Residential District Zoning.
The Residential 2 District is intended to accommodate higher density single-family, duplex, multiple family, and mobile home parks and subdivisions and to provide land-use protection for areas that develop in such a manner.
“There is a provision in state statute that puts a boundary on two different types of locations. “One is schools and the other is child daycares,” she said.
Madrid-Boyea said a local government under state law cannot prohibit a cannabis establishment within a boundary larger than 300 feet.
She said City Council added the 300-foot limit to include places of worship and public parks in the City of Carlsbad.
“That is for any cannabis establishment. Consumption can only take place in an approved consumption area or private residence,” she said.
Cannabis sales are limited to 7 a.m. through 12 a.m., Monday through Sunday and hours for use in public consumption areas are 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday, read a statement from the City of Carlsbad.
Councilors approved a second amendment regarding connections to the City of Carlsbad water system.
“What we had originally written if anybody wants to cultivate or produce cannabis then they would need to connect to a 10-inch waterline,” Madrid-Boyea said.
She said council agreed to an alteration that limits water use and pipeline requirements for cannabis growing.
“You have to apply to the utilities director (Ron Myers) to make sure there is adequate water,” Madrid-Boyea said.
Patterson said one individual applied with the City of Carlsbad Licensing and Permitting Department to add recreational cannabis to their city business registration.
“About 10 different individuals have called the Planning Department to express an interest in starting a cannabis business but have not yet applied,” Madrid-Boyea said.
Matt Kennicott, a partner with Albuquerque based P2M Cannabis Group, said Carlsbad’s ordinance seems similar to other measures adopted by other New Mexico municipalities.
“There’s always a local twist, and Carlsbad is no different. This is a new industry for nearly everyone involved, and we are all learning and growing together. We’re happy to see that communities throughout the state are welcoming this budding industry with open arms,” he said.
P2M Cannabis Group assists potential recreational cannabis business owners with a wide range of services from finding business locations to navigation of possible ordinances, Kennicott indicated.
Does ordinance impact medical cannabis businesses?
Madrid-Boyea said provisions were in place in HB2 to protect medical cannabis dispensaries
“Recreational cannabis producers and retailers have to set aside 25 percent of its inventory to meet the demands of medical marijuana patients,” she said.
Madrid-Boyea said Carlsbad’s recreational cannabis ordinance addresses medical cannabis.
“And allows all existing medical cannabis establishments in existence to remain in place and continue business,” she said.
Madrid-Boyea said medical cannabis dispensaries seeking to add recreational cannabis might be subject to further regulations.
“Such as if they want to be licensed also as cannabis curriers or have a consumption area,” she said.
According to the Where’s Weed website, Carlsbad has four medical cannabis businesses.
Oso Cannabis at 1704 South Canal Street, Pecos Valley Production at 812 North Canal Street and 810 Mermod Street and Health Education Society at 2409 West Pierce Street.
“Where’s Weed is the comprehensive online consumer resource that connects visitors with relevant cannabis businesses across the US and Canada,” their website indicated.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.