P&Z Committee recommends ban on pot shops

November 5, 2013 • Local News

The Planning and Zoning Committee decided Tuesday to recommend prohibiting medical marijuana distribution centers within city limits.

But the public will have several opportunities in the next month to voice their opinions about the issue before City Council makes a final decision.

The ordinance change would alter rules in commercial districts by changing restrictions that allow the centers by special use permits.

“The committee felt like there was a conflict between federal and state law with regards to medical marijuana,” said Planning Director Michael Vickers. “They did not believe it was [auth] up to the city to regulate that with regards to the zoning criteria.”

Instead of removing the special-use designation, the committee recommended a change that would result in a prohibition of any state-licensed medical marijuana distributor from setting up shop in Roswell.

The recommendation will now be sent to City Council Nov. 14 to schedule an official publication, it then returns to the Planning and Zoning commission and committee. Then, City Council is expected to consider the change at its December meeting to consider an ordinance.

All meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed change.

City Councilors Jimmy Craig, Jason Perry and Savino Sanchez sit on the Planning and Zoning committee.

The recommendation to remove medical marijuana from a zoning ordinance could undergo changes as it makes it way through the public hearing process.

“It may change several times, and that’s not uncommon,” Vickers said. “Many times an ordinance may change before it gets through the public hearing. It may change, it may not. It may stay the very same.”

The New Mexico Department of Health administers and ensures enforcement of any criminal laws of the Medical Cannabis Program.

As of Oct. 31, 10,289 active patients are licensed with the NMDOH. Of those, 170 live in Chaves County.

The department reported that 23 licensed nonprofit producers are registered with the NMDOH as of Aug. 30. There are 17 qualifying conditions eligible for the program, but at a hearing today, the NMDOH will consider adding more qualifying medical conditions to the list.

The private producers are kept confidential by the department.

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