City creates rules for businesses as some lawmakers push to legalize pot

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the push continues in the Roundhouse to legalize marijuana, the city is trying to stay a step ahead, coming up with rules for where pot stores and grow farms can go and how to keep them from stinking up their neighborhoods.

Although recreational marijuana hasn’t been legalized yet, City Councilor Pat Davis said these new rules would go into effect for all marijuana-related businesses, even medical dispensaries.

“Clearly there are more and more cannabis shops for medical patients, and eventually we’re gonna get to legalization, so we’re trying to get ahead of that by introducing new zoning codes that say where those businesses can operate, how close to your residence can they work, how close to your school,” said Davis.

He said as the legalization of marijuana could be coming soon, he and other city staff have been working on new rules. Among the rules, any marijuana-related business cannot be within 330-feet of a school or child daycare center. Cannabis farms cannot be within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare center or any area zoned as residential.

If the state legalizes marijuana, pot-smoking may be allowed in the medical marijuana shops and in the marijuana retail stores. So, stores and farms alike would need city-approved air filtration systems to keep the odor out of their neighborhoods.

People say they’re not sure how much that will help. “The filtrations systems, yes, I do see it, but then you still do smell it. I mean regardless you’re going to smell it. When you go into the dispensaries you do, when you’re out in the streets. You can’t stop it, it’s not gonna get stopped,” said Jana Quintero, owner of Duke City Herbs.

Davis said they do have concerns about pot farms because, he says, during the budding season the smell of marijuana will seep into swamp coolers, so they hope to prevent that. City council still needs to vote on these zoning changes, which would go into effect this year. Established marijuana businesses would be grandfathered in, so they wouldn’t have to move.

The pot legalization bill is still in its first committee up in the Roundhouse, so it still has a long way to go.

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