Lawmakers are considering some cannabis regulation changes that would give microbusinesses the ability to grow more plants and would allow business owners who already have alcohol licenses to also receive cannabis licenses.

If passed, Senate Bill 100 would increase the state’s cannabis microbusiness plant limit from 200 plants to 1,000, giving smaller businesses the ability to temporarily double their plant counts. The state’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD) recently announced it would temporarily allow marijuana producers to double their plant limits as a way to battle looming shortages ahead of April 1, when the state will open the doors for retail adult-use cannabis shops. Previous plant limits precluded the inclusion of microbusinesses in this temporary increase, and would give larger companies an advantage in the market.

Another improvement included in the bill is altered language that would allow someone who already has a liquor license to apply for a cannabis license as long as they don’t sell both on the same premises. Language in the original law blocked business owners from obtaining both licenses with the intent of disallowing cannabis and alcohol sales at the same establishment.

The bill would also clarify certain processes and definitions of terms in the Cannabis Regulation Act.

ABQ Resolution Could End Zoning Lottery

Albuquerque City Council has introduced a resolution that would require the city to evaluate adult-use cannabis business licensees on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to the Albuquerque’s zoning laws, new cannabis businesses must be located at least 600 feet from each other. The city also requires licensees to gain approval from the state before they can apply for local business registration. State approval requires businesses to already have a lease for facilities.

Mayor Tim Keller’s planning department has been developing a lottery system to determine which business applicants will receive registration when they are within 600 feet of each other. This system isn’t used for any other type of industry in the city, and could potentially penalize those who have already signed a lease for their facility but are waiting for the city to issue registration.

Resolution R-6, introduced by Councilors Isaac Benton and Trudy Jones, would do away with the lottery system and would give priority to whichever business applied first.

Supreme Court Schedules Pot Taxes Arguments

The New Mexico Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for a case determining whether medical cannabis patients should have been exempt from paying gross receipts taxes before the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect.

According to NM Political Report, the case has been pending since 2020. Medical cannabis producer Sacred Garden claims it should have been exempt from paying gross receipts tax because cannabis is a medicine. The state’s Attorney General’s Office said that medical cannabis is not prescription medication since it is only recommended by a health professional and not prescribed by a doctor.

Arguments are set to begin Feb. 28.