Last month, we kicked things off by warning that Santa Fe’s city and county governments were not moving swiftly to keep up with the new state law legalizing cannabis. We’re shocked (shocked!) to report that’s still the case. Yet, there’s been a bit of action in the last week by both jurisdictions and you might already need a scorecard.
First, Santa Fe County staff rolled out recommendations for the County Commission last week. Most of the county’s proposed rules apply to cannabis production businesses and would, among other provisions: treat production facilities with the same rules as dairy farms; treat consumption areas with the same rules as alcohol sales with respect to hours of operation; and require a 200-foot buffer between new cannabis establishments.
But a recommendation to prohibit outdoor growing for personal use and limit it to indoors only caused county residents to use adjectives like “insane” and “absurd.”
As of Thursday, county staff had backtracked and the county Planning Commission recommended no additional rules be imposed over the new state law that allows six mature plants per adult and a max of 12 per household.
Meanwhile, the City of Santa Fe is not as far along. At its meeting Wednesday, (beginning at minute 22 on that video) city staff explained it will likely be October before the City Council can make a final vote on zoning rules within city boundaries. A subcommittee for the city’s Planning Commission is working on a draft of rule changes that would build on existing regulations for medical cannabis businesses.
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Santa Fe County staff changes tune about limits on personal growers; Planning Commission agrees to allow outdoor cultivation
Santa Fe County proposes limit on personal growth cannabis to indoors
By the book
New Mexico’s medical cannabis producers are making the transition this summer from holding licenses under the state Department of Health to applying for them under the Department of Taxation’s Cannabis Control Division. Meanwhile, public comment remains open through Aug. 6 on the latest iteration of rules for new producers, including the moving-target topic of plant counts. In the most recent round, regulators shifted from a maximum of 4,500 mature plants under a previous proposal to a maximum of 8,000 under the revised rules.
Lights, camera, sizzle for hemp
New Mexico author and national hemp agriculture consultant Doug Fine’s gospel of regenerative farming is getting screen time with the announcement of a six-part docu-series with Shock Ink that follows his book of the same name published last year. Watch a sizzle reel for American Hemp Farmer here, and get ready for Fine’s brand of celebratory storytelling (with the help of goats, kids and a sax) that includes a passion for not just sustainable systems, but those that restore health for humans and the land.
State of pollution
Santa Fe County’s not-so-brilliant idea to require personal growers to keep cannabis indoors is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local regulations that can make cannabis production, on small and large scales, more problematic than it needs to be. Rolling Stone looks at how rules, such as those that require cannabis to be produced in the same state where it is sold, are creating more pollution and energy use than would be necessary in an actually free market. The story points to new research published in the journal Nature Sustainability that outlines how indoor cultivation, too, “comes at an alarming climate cost, turning what could be a green enterprise into yet another dirty business—with a carbon output that rivals major extractive industries.”
Is staying in a marijuana-friendly hotel or home rental on your list of travel musts? Or are you more likely to find the odor of cannabis is not “family friendly” like some visitors to a recent Vegas high-rise? New York Times freelancer Julie Weed (and yes it appears that is her byline for stories on other topics too) takes on cannabis tourism this month. “During the year many people spent cooped up at home, cannabis legalization expanded dramatically across the United States, and some segment of the traveling public has embraced the changes,” she writes. “Whether you call it pot, weed, marijuana or cannabis, that can mean that these days travel can look, feel and definitely smell a bit different.”
Congress on cannabis
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, along with senators Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, unveiled draft legislation repealing the federal prohibition on marijuana at a press conference on Wednesday that you can watch on YouTube. According to NORML, the draft legislation, titled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, loosens federal marijuana laws and calls for expungement of nonviolent, federal criminal records while providing deference to states’ cannabis policies. “The days of federal prohibition are numbered,” reads a statement by NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “The supermajority of Americans is demanding that Congress take action to end the cruel and senseless policy of federal prohibition. It is time for legislators to comport federal law with the laws of the growing number of states that have legalized the plant, and it is time for lawmakers to facilitate a federal structure that allows for cannabis commerce so that responsible consumers can obtain high-quality, low-cost cannabis grown right here in America without fear of arrest and incarceration.”
Those who remember Joe Biden’s stance on cannabis call the effort a long shot, however. “Schumer has several reluctant members within his own caucus and will have to scrounge up at least 10 Republican votes for the legislation during an already chaotic Senate calendar filled with Biden administration priorities on infrastructure, police accountability and education,” writes Politico.
We can’t make this up
Journalists who cover cannabis get a lot of email that’s not particularly useful. Based on our inbox, the industry is branching out like a Siberian elm under a downspout. If you’ve got a summer birthday or have a hardworking colleague to thank, we’re not even sure you need to buy this, but we thought it was worth sharing. The Blazy Susan is like a lazy Susan for your stoner coffee table: a rotating tray with compartments for your paraphernalia. And apparently the Denver-based company does custom jobs, too.