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September 30, 2021
Governing Body Considers Cannabis Legislation

BACKGROUNDER:

Governing Body to Consider Commercial Cannabis Legislation Tonight

We provide this information describing definitions and recommendations as context for following the proceedings scheduled for the evening session of the meeting; find the agenda and instructions for viewing and listening here: Meeting (primegov.com)

The proposed legislative changes before the Governing Body this evening (September 29, 2021) regarding the new commercial cannabis industry are based on recommendations that the Policy Subcommittee has made to the Planning Commission. The Policy Subcommittee worked extensively over the past several weeks to formulate recommendations  and on September 2, 2021, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the legislation for cannabis to the Governing Body.

Staff made legislative changes to amend the Land Development Code by adding a new category of specific uses, “Commercial Cannabis Establishments,” in the Santa Fe City Code (“SFCC” 14-6.1-1 (Table of Permitted Uses). The Bill further clarifies in which zoning districts the various types of Commercial Cannabis Establishments would be permitted, and adopts minimum distances between cannabis retail establishments and schools or daycares. The Bill includes proposed changes to Subsection 14-6.2(H) (agricultural uses), 14-6.3(D)(2) (home occupations), 14-12.1 (definitions), and adds a new subsection 14-6.2(I) to adopt use specific standards for cannabis establishments including density limitations and operating times.

The State has clearly outlined that local jurisdictions cannot:

 

  • Prevent anyone properly licensed from transporting cannabis products on public roads;
  • Completely prohibit the operation of a cannabis licensee;
  • Prohibit or limit signage identifying a business as a cannabis establishment if it’s attached to or located on the business premises;
  • Require a cannabis establishment or a cannabis consumption area be located more than 300 feet from a school or daycare center that existed when the cannabis establishment or consumption area was licensed;
  • Require an existing cannabis licensee to relocate to a new premises; or
  • Prohibit an adult New Mexican from producing homegrown cannabis.

 

Local jurisdictions can adopt rules that reasonably limit conditions like density of cannabis establishments and operating times.

The Cannabis Regulation Act defines new types of recreational cannabis establishments, including the following:

 

  • Cannabis Retailer (commercial sales of cannabis);
  • Cannabis Producer (growing or farming of cannabis);
  • Cannabis Producer Microbusiness (produces cannabis at a single premise with no more than 200 mature plants at one time);
  • Cannabis Manufacturer (turns uncultivated cannabis into oils, edibles, and products); and
  • Cannabis Research and/or Testing Laboratories;
  • Cannabis Consumption Areas (place where cannabis is smoked, vaporized, or ingested);
  • Integrated Cannabis Microbusiness (may include combination of producer microbusiness, manufacture and retail at a single location selling only their own products); and
  • Vertically Integrated Cannabis Establishment (may include combination of retail, producer, and manufacturer).

Staff has drafted the following changes to Chapter 14.The goal of this proposed legislation is to promote the cannabis economy while protecting public health, safety, and the general welfare of the residents and visitors to the City of Santa Fe.

Commercial Cannabis Establishments: With the proposed amendments, a new “Commercial Cannabis Establishments” category of specific uses would be created within SFCC Section 14-6.1-1 (table of permitted uses), which stipulates specific definitions and uses in zoning districts as “permitted use”, “special use permit”, “accessory use”, and “prohibited use.”

Commercial Cannabis Establishments would be divided into two classes for Production:

  1. Cannabis Producer:

A business conducted by a person licensed to cultivate cannabis, including the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis, provided that the person may possess two hundred and one (201) total mature cannabis plants or more at any one time.

  • Permitted indoors in industrial districts
  • Permitted indoors or outdoors with Special Use Permit

 

  1. Cannabis Producer Microbusiness:

A small business conducted by a person licensed to cultivate cannabis at a single location, including the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis, provided that the person may not possess more than two hundred (200) total mature cannabis plants at any one time.

  • Permitted indoors in certain commercial districts
  • Outdoors with Special Use Permit

 

Commercial Cannabis Establishments would be divided into two classes for Manufacturing:

1.Cannabis Manufacturing, Heavy: A use that involves compounding, blending, extracting, infusing, packaging, or otherwise preparing a cannabis product using volatile solvents, e.g., butane, heptane, hexane, or propane.

  • Permitted in indoors in industrial districts.

 

2.Cannabis Manufacturing, Light: A use that involves compounding, blending, extracting, infusing, packaging, or otherwise preparing a cannabis product using mechanical methods, nonvolatile solvents, or no solvents.

  • Permitted in certain commercial and industrial districts

 

Commercial Cannabis Establishments would be divided into two categories for Cannabis research and testing laboratories:

 

Cannabis Research Laboratory: A facility that produces or possesses cannabis or cannabis products for the purpose of studying cannabis cultivation, characteristics, or uses, provided that a cannabis research laboratory that conducts heavy cannabis manufacturing activities shall be classified as “cannabis manufacturing, heavy.”

  • Permitted in certain commercial and industrial districts

 

Cannabis Testing Labratory: A facility where cannabis products are sampled, collected, and tested, provided that a cannabis testing laboratory that conducts heavy cannabis manufacturing activities shall be classified as “cannabis manufacturing, heavy.”

  • Permitted in certain commercial and industrial districts

 

Commercial Cannabis Retailer:  A business conducted by a person that is licensed to sell cannabis products directly to consumers who are twenty-one years of age or older.

  • Permitted in districts allowing general retail establishments (limited to hours of operation from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM in MU districts only)

The Commercial Cannabis Retailer use would only be permitted if not located within three-hundred (300) feet of an existing school or daycare center; new commercial cannabis retailers would only be permitted use if located outside a four-hundred (400) foot distance of a commercial cannabis retailer’smain entrance (the distance shall be measured from the main entrance of the business premise to the main entrance of the next business premise); all commercial cannabis retailers would be limited to hours of operation from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.. (midnight).

The final permitted use added to the Commercial Cannabis Establishments would be “Cannabis Consumption Area,” defined as an area where cannabis products may be served and consumed by smoking, vaping, or ingesting, provided that alcohol cannot be sold or consumed in a cannabis consumption area and entry is limited to patrons 21 years of age or older. The State of New Mexico is currently working on a framework for regulating cannabis consumption areas and legislation will be further drafted and presented to the Planning Commission and Governing Body after the State’s framework is completed. The resulting legislation will require review at public hearings before the Planning Commission and Governing Body prior to adoption. 

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