CORRALES, N.M. (KRQE) – One small New Mexico community is already preparing for legal pot sales in the state. When it comes to setting the rules for cannabis, Corrales council leaders say the quality of life for residents is top of mind ahead of sales.
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“The ordinance we passed at our last meeting was merely a preemptive attempt with the information that we had at the time to protect the quality of life here in Corrales,” said Kevin Lucero, one of the council members for the Village of Corrales. “Given the overall legalization of it, we want to make sure that we contain our quality of life from the nuisance type things, the odors and the noises and the lights.”
Last month, the village council approved a basic cannabis ordinance with items like requiring facilities not to be close to schools or daycares, and even having proper HVAC systems to prevent the smell from spreading. Now, the council is digging deeper into how they can govern the effects of the marijuana industry, primarily, how much water is needed when the state is already low on that commodity.
“Our most natural resource, precious resource is water, and how we can regulate the use of that,” said Lucero. “In a village on only septics, we have to pay attention to that sort of thing.”
The council also pointed out the village does not have a designated industrial zone where they can confine grow operations so they are away from homes. They say it must be treated how other agricultural operations are run.
“The difference between this and other agricultural products are with the restrictions we can place on the way it’s grown,” said one presenter during Tuesday night’s meeting. “It can’t be treated differently under the state law as far as where it can be grown.”
Some community members say they’re ready for the boost it can bring to the economy. However, others say they’re worried about the effect of pot operations on public safety and way of life, and the council says it’s something they must consider for future rules.
“A lot of residents are really worried about the cannabis coming into the village,” said Stuart Murray, one of the council members for the Village of Corrales. “A lot of possibility of having a facility right next door to your residence.”
So far, the village has only received one application, which would be for a dispensary in an already-established building. Still, the council says it needs to be prepared for other operations that may come in.
“I think as a village, we kind of have to be proactive on how we regulate this,” said Lucero. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of direction from the state so we’re trying to do what we can.”
Just a few years ago, a cannabis ban was shot down in the village with the compromise limiting pot farms and shops — strictly medical marijuana, at the time — to the commercial zone. Amendments discussed Tuesday night could likely be voted on during a future council meeting. The next one is set for Sept. 28.