Farmington council discusses proposed ordinance changes due to cannabis legalization

No ordinance changes listed for July 26 council meeting

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Members of the council took time on the morning of July 20 during its work session to hear a presentation from Planning Manger Beth Escobar and City Attorney Jennifer Breakell on proposed updates to city ordinances.
  • The Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect on June 29 after the bill was signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on April 12.
  • Council Sean Sharer agreed downtown Farmington is an area focused on being tourist and family friendly as the cannabis retail shops are counterintuitive to that vision of the area.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council has started discussing possible changes to city ordinances in response to the legalization of recreational cannabis use among people over 21, including limiting retail sales to certain parts of the city.

One proposal would bar cannabis businesses from the newly-renovated downtown area, keeping them in other parts of the city's commercial corridors.

Members of the council took time on the morning of July 20 during a work session to hear a presentation from Planning Manger Beth Escobar and City Attorney Jennifer Breakell on proposed updates to city ordinances.

The agenda for the upcoming July 27 council meeting did not include any action items related to the cannabis discussion from the previous week.

The Farmington City Council starts to discuss proposed ordinance changes during a July 20 council work session. The proposed changes stem from the legalization of recreational cannabis use for people 21 years old and over.

The Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect on June 29 after the bill was signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on April 12.

It allows those 21 years old and over to possess up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis, up to 16 grams of extract and up to two ounces of cannabis.

The goal of the ordinance revisions is to balance protecting public safety and health along with balancing support for new economic activity, according to a slide in the presentation.

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Breakell discussed some changes to provisions of municipal law including updating the possession of drug paraphernalia charge to state it’s legal to possess marijuana drug paraphernalia if the person is 21 years old or over.

Another proposed update is prohibiting the consumption of cannabis in areas including public places, outdoor parks, public sidewalks and streets and in a motor vehicle.

This graphic shows the City of Farmington's General Commercial district.

The councilors had some legal concerns regarding use of cannabis in a vehicle, but Breakell stated it is a proposed ordinance akin to the ordinance for an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

The Cannabis Regulation Act already bans consumption of cannabis on sidewalks and public places.

Escobar discussed proposed revisions to the Unified Development Code, including not allowing cultivation or grow houses of cannabis plants within city limits.

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She also proposed limiting retail sales to the General Commercial district and production to the general commercial and Industrial district with a special permit.

Large portions of the general commercial district are along West and East Main Streets and including areas on Bloomfield Highway, parts of East 20th Street and Browning Parkway.

A proposal discussed at a Farmington City Council work session on July 20 would put out the unwelcome mat for cannabis retail businesses in the renovated downtown business corridor.

The proposed revision would leave out parts of the downtown Farmington corridor along Main Street.

Council Sean Sharer agreed downtown Farmington is an area focused on being tourist and family friendly, as he feels the cannabis retail shops are counterintuitive to that vision of the area.

Cannabis production involves the extraction of the oils from the plant and, in a proposed ordinance, it could require a special permit along with operating in the city's general commercial and industrial districts.

Mayor Nate Duckett requested a proposed ordinance regarding density control to help manage the number of retail operations in an area.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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