PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Portales is looking to pass new ordinances regarding New Mexico’s recreational marijuana laws, some of which could include no sale, distribution, or use within a 1,000-foot radius of some buildings such as residences, churches, community centers, public parks, or government facilities. This is all being prepared in conjunction with city council members, city attorneys, as well as the public’s input.
“As you know, we are in the process of working on this ordinance with our attorneys. The few things that we are taking into consideration for sure are our clean air ordinance and we’re also looking at, as you say, location and where is the districting of schools – say churches – we’re taking things like that into consideration,” says City Manager Sarah Austin.
Part of the concern for the city of Portales is that the marijuana ordinances are on par with the liquor sale laws. The city does not want to look like they are favoring one over the other. The other big consideration is Eastern New Mexico University which when in session, is half of the city’s population.
“We’re going to take it all into consideration because I do want to stress the point that we do want to remain neutral and we do see both sides to this and the impacts that it can have,” Austin says. “There’s is a high concern for increased criminal activity. I know that one of the big discussions here is driving under the influence. That’s our chief of police’s concern is driving under the influence and how to know the difference between whether or not they are under the influence.”
The city does recognize that some of the ordinances may be too strict and will have to be adjusted if challenged legally and that is why they are urging to speak up and voice any concerns or thoughts. The council will be meeting on August 24th to get public input on the proposed ordinance.