LOS LUNAS — Some cannabis establishments seeking to set up shop in the village of Los Lunas may now need additional approval by the village council.
The Los Lunas village council voted unanimously on Nov. 17, to update the village’s cannabis ordinance requiring a review and approval by the village council for certain cannabis-related permits.
“All we are doing is changing these different license types to require more permitting and review by (the) village council for final approval for any of these, what we’ve flagged as maybe a more intensive use for cannabis,” Los Lunas community planner Alex Ochoa told the council, “meaning manufacturing, any of the laboratory and testing and consumption areas, which is on-site- consumption for edibles or consuming vapors, smoking, things like that.”
Under the amended ordinance, cannabis retailers, manufacturers, research and testing laboratories, and cannabis consumption areas will need to receive designated-use approval when occupying commercially-zoned C1 property. Cannabis consumption areas located in C2 zoned areas will also need a designated use permit.
Ochoa added that due to the village’s density requirement, which was included in the initial ordinance approved in November 2021, Los Lunas has already reached the maximum number of cannabis establishments allowed within village limits — nine.
According to the ordinance, only one establishment is allowed per every 2,000 residents, as determined by annual population projections by the American Community Survey.
The density limits do not apply to producers or micro producers within village limits with the updated ordinance.
“I will let you know that we do have a few village residents that have gone through the state process and have been granted a license through the state,” Ochoa said. “Those state licenses can range from $2,000 to $10,000, and they have already gone through that fee and permitting process but unfortunately those smaller grow operations cannot operate within the village (currently) because of the density standards.”
In addition to the permitting changes, the council also approved clearer language within the ordinance, further defining the meaning of a cannabis establishment as the license type to become better aligned with state law.
“What we are actually allowed to regulate through the state statute is the appendices itself, so all we have done is added the cannabis establishment to the state license premise to make it clear that it is the physical location to which we are allowed to regulate,” Ochoa said.
The amended ordinance also clarifies how distances between cannabis establishments and schools and day care centers will be measured.
The 300-feet mandatory distance will be calculated from the property line of the school or day care to a controlled access point on the facility property, such as a door or a gate.
“That will give us a little more of an appropriate distance, especially for some of these areas where we do have the establishments within shopping centers, which do create an issue for our measurements because the parcels are insanely big,” Ochoa said. “So, it’s just to help us with our measurement standards to be more accurate.”