ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two months after recreational cannabis became legal in the state, some pot shops are trying to push the boundaries of the city’s zoning laws. 

Right now, Albuquerque zoning laws are clear that marijuana stores have to be at least 600 feet apart. Owners of proposed shops are trying to convince the city to grant them exceptions. They want to build shops in areas where there are already pot stores. They argue it won’t impact the nearby neighborhood.

In one case, they say the alley behind the business offers neighbors protection. “That’s because this not only provides a buffer, with a rear yard and double walls and the alley but the commercial activity will be oriented to the east side of the building facing San Mateo,” said one of the reps speaking.

There are two businesses asking for exemptions. One on San Mateo near Candelaria, the other here on Menaul near San Pedro. One of the shop reps said they have letters of support from two businesses near the San Mateo location. But there was community outcry during this week’s hearing.

Many say that since the first pot shops came in issues have gone up. “Street segments with recreational dispensaries experienced little to no change in violent crimes, disorder or drug crimes but did experience an 18 percent increase in property crime, and street segments adjacent to the dispensary experience the same increases,” according to one of the community members who spoke.

Another business in the area of Menaul says they had an increase of problems with people coming into their business and causing a ruckus since the first pot store opened.

The zoning hearing examiner will have a written decision for both shops in the next 15 days.