Probable date change: Letter to Editor on Silver City cannabis ordinance
Silver City will vote on a Cannabis Ordinance likely on Sept 28 with very little public input. I am very concerned about making all smoking on streets, sidewalks, or alleys illegal. Firstly, there is no way to enforce public consumption of edibles or other forms in public places so these rules cannot restrict the consumption of THC which belies the statement that this is to control an "intoxicant." There have been medicinal users walking around our streets for a few years now without any issues.
This ordinance creates a need for a specific location for smoking, but adding such a building requirement creates many other difficulties. Who owns it and the land it sits on, who maintains it, where will it be located, will it sell food and drinks, will it sell product, and if not, who will monitor the safety of those inside? Am I to leave the restaurant and drive across town to inhale a few puffs to control nausea? I would not likely drive back to that restaurant so this ordinance will also dampen other businesses. I can foresee a potential for Marijuana Café businesses, but not as the only location to smoke other than just stay home.
Since the only form that is actually being controlled is smoke there is no need for an investment in buildings, and we need not create conflict between forms of consumption or between rules in different communities. Tobacco use is already prohibited where there are concentrations of people or in public buildings and requires smokers to stay 10 feet away from doorways. If the point is to keep non-smokers from exposure, this seems much more efficient than requiring people to drive across town to specific buildings to consume a legal substance and where overindulgence behaviors might be increased, just like alcohol.
In addition, this is creating a new form of misdemeanor with $50 fines just when we got rid of all that. The possession of the plant, leaves, and methods of consumption (paraphernalia) is now legal and this is asking our police to chase odors when they have more important things to attend to.
All this fuss seems to be about the smells of smoke or plants. The smell does not contain the active turpin compounds and though some find it objectionable does not cause health threats. We have to deal with other objectionable smells like diesel fumes, cigars, chemical perfumes, and so on. Trying to reestablish laws to make cannabis illegal in all public places will only bring us lawsuits and eliminate our participation in the developing New Mexico Cannabis Tourism industry.
Perhaps these regulations need to wait until the State composes their rules. If there is a need to establish zoning boundaries related to the September producer changes, then do that without the attempt at a comprehensive ordinance now. It is legal to grow at home so the restrictions of everything to only "zone 1" also seems not well thought out. These questions need a full discussion by the community, not an Emergency knee-jerk fear reaction based on misinformation from the old War-On-Drugs days.
Please contact your Town Counselor, the Mayor, or Town Manager about this proposed ordinance and attend the Sept. 14 and 28 Council meetings. I am hopeful they will consider a rewrite prior to that meeting but as it is currently written it makes more problems than it solves. The full ordinance is available on the Town web site under Legal Notices: NOI Ord 1307 Amending App C, Art 3, Sec 3.2, 3.3, 3.3.1 Cannabis Establishments.docx
Proposed Cannabis Ordinance
San Lorenzo, NM