LAS CRUCES, NM – The Las Cruces City Council rejected a proposed ordinance that would have modified city codes for Special Use Permit approval for cannabis uses within 300 feet of single-family residential and other retail and microbusiness zoning districts.
In the past year, 48 cannabis-related businesses have set up shop in the city and generated $42.5 million in total sales, according to the Las Cruces Economic Development Department.
The Economic Development, Community Development and Fire departments have worked closely with the emerging industry to provide guidance on permits, licenses, building codes, fire codes, zoning codes and other assistance to small businesses, the City Council reported.
City staff analyzed the number of commercial properties within the 300-foot single-family zoning buffer and determined that 1,081 commercially zoned lots could potentially be affected.
The state of New Mexico legalized cannabis for adult recreational use in April 2021. The city adopted amendments to Chapter 38, Zoning, of the Las Cruces Municipal Code in September 2021 to incorporate regulations related to cannabis-related uses beginning in April 2022.
The Ordinance included several new definitions, including Cannabis Industry, Cannabis Research Laboratory, Cannabis Retailer, Community Garden, Cannabis Horticulture, and Cannabis Microbusiness.
Both Cannabis Retail and Cannabis Microbusiness were added to the Commercial zones (C-1, C-2, C-3) with conditions, Cannabis Industry (production and manufacturing uses) was added to the Industrial zones (M-1/M-2, M-3) with conditions, cannabis research laboratory was added to industrial zones with conditions (MT, M-1/M22, M-3), and residential cannabis microbusiness was added as permitted with a special use permit (SUP) in single-family agricultural zones (EE, REM), similar to existing authorizations for small breweries and wineries.
The state of New Mexico recorded $300 million in adult-use cannabis sales in its first year, which began in April 2022.
As of April 2023, the state had issued about 2,000 cannabis licenses throughout New Mexico, including 633 retailers, 351 producers, 415 micro-producers and 507 manufacturers.