P&Z Committee to consider medical pot shop ban today

December 10, 2013 • Local News

The city’s Planning and Zoning Committee will consider recommending changes [auth] today to a city ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

If approved, the change would be forwarded to City Council for approval Thursday.

Staff reports released Monday show that last month committee members and Councilors Jimmy Craig, Jason Perry and Savino Sanchez discussed federal and state regulations, and concerns about marijuana possession laws.

According to the draft minutes taken at the Nov. 5 meeting, Planning Director Michael Vickers told the committee allowing medial marijuana distribution centers as special uses may violate state regulations because special uses are required to be advertised, while medical marijuana distribution centers must remain anonymous.

City Manager Larry Fry told members it would be difficult to sanction an activity deemed illegal by the federal government. City Attorney Barbara Patterson said they could be placed under a compatible agricultural or storage use.

“The committee members stated they were in favor of removing medical marijuana distribution centers from the ordinance,” according to the draft minutes.

Robert Pack, of the Southeast New Mexico Medical Cannabis Alliance, said a dispensary in Roswell would directly benefit the estimated 300 to 400 rural patients in the region.

“The Southeast New Mexico Medical Cannabis Alliance is against banning dispensaries,” Pack said. “Dispensaries provide a safe, controlled environment for (New Mexico) patients, the neighborhood and community. They markedly reduce crime and decrease the demand for Black Market marijuana.”

Pack estimates that one-third of the region’s patients are veterans.

“These people are a part of your community that just happen to have a chronic, debilitating condition that is relieved through the use of cannabis,” Pack said. “It is the hope of the SENMMCA that the citizens of Roswell respond to Roswell, Chaves County and SENM patients with compassion, understanding and care when considering a dispensary for patients in your town.”

One dispensary exists in Ruidoso, co-owned by Mandy Denson of Compassionate Distributors. The place opened October 2011.

“I’m really proud of our store,” Denson said. “I’ve been told by a lot of our patients it’s a lot safer way for them to get their medicine that they need.”

In other proposed action, the committee is expected to discuss recommending a resolution that would call for the cleanup of 52 properties. Property owners would be given notice to clean up or remove rubbish, weeds, wreckage and debris from yards or face citations.

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