CURRY COUNTY, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — The Curry County Board of Commissioners met for an informal work session on Friday, August 6, to discuss the regulation of cannabis in unincorporated areas of the County.
The Commission has the authority to enact an ordinance regulating the time, place, and manner of cannabis sales, manufacture, and consumption in the county.
That includes the hours of operation for cannabis consumption areas, and off-sites sales.
“One is for consumption, like a bar, and the other is for off-site like a gas station,” said County Attorney Stephen Doerr.
On Friday, the commission discussed outlined proposals from Doerr, that were written to fit within New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulation Act. One proposal included treating cannabis like alcohol in the county.
“It’s the way the state approaches because they can’t smoke it on site. It’s for purchase only. Where they decided to go after they leave there basically. So I’m not sure just how much we can regulate that part,” Seth Martin,, District 4 Commissioner said. “Maybe on the consumption part of this, L1, we might want to look at the actual operations of, say, like a bar operates.”
The commission will vote to adopt regulations in the next few weeks. They were able to hear public input at Friday’s meeting.
“In the interest of public safety and with respect to our law enforcement folks, midnight is not a bad time to shut things off,” said District 3 Commissioner, Chet Spear.
Local governments, including the Curry County Commission, will need to pass their ordinances before September 1, but Doerr said there are still some details to be ironed out.
“The cannabis regulation law goes into effect September 1 but before you can get a license, you’ve got to apply to the state and the state licensing procedure hasn’t been set up yet. So everything is really on hold,” Doerr said.
Doerr also said local counties cannot impose taxes on cannabis sales. The State of New Mexico has that authority and will handle funds raised through taxes.
District 1 Commissioner, Robert Sandoval, said he expects this to be a learning process.
“For the state, the sheriff, the commission, everybody, we’re just going to have to grow as we go,” Sandoval said.
The commission will have a public hearing and a meeting to vote on August 30.