Kids and Cannabis

Cannabis advisory committee recommends parents and guardians be allowed to bring children into dispensaries

The Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended that children be permitted in dispensaries with their parents or guardians—amid concerns over challenges parents might face if they weren’t able to bring their kids with them when buying marijuana.

The recommendation would apply to both the existing medical and forthcoming recreational cannabis programs.

Draft rules from the state Cannabis Control Division—which the committee is tasked with advising—limit access to dispensaries to people who are 21 or older, or who are at least 18 and have a medical patient or primary caregiver card.

Some committee members worry that the rule would put parents at a disadvantage.

“My concern is mostly in line with people who cannot afford to have child care in order to buy legal cannabis and the medical patients who are currently accessing their medicine while bringing their children,” member Rachael Speegle said.

Another committee member, Paul Haidle, said it might be difficult for retailers to verify whether a minor was with their parent or guardian.

“It seems more straightforward to me to be able to verify someone’s age and date of birth but it seems less straightforward to verify that someone is, in fact, with their guardian or parent,” Haidle said.

Haidle—deputy policy director at the city of Albuquerque’s legal department—initially said he would want to talk to the city’s planning and code enforcement experts before voting.

Chairwoman Emily Kaltenbach later pointed out that there’s a parallel with liquor stores, which permit children with their parents, and that many other provisions in the state statute legalizing recreational cannabis mirror the Liquor Control Act.

Haidle said if the rule were to fall in line with the provision for liquor stores, the city “wouldn’t have any heartburn with it.”

The recommendation—that the state division review and consider incorporation of a rule mirroring the Liquor Control Act—passed on a unanimous vote.

Also at its Wednesday meeting, the committee recommended the deadline for the division to create a social and economic equity plan be pushed back from Oct. 15 to Jan. 1, 2022, which is when the state must start issuing production licenses.

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