Dear Las Crucens, On June 5th, City Council will be voting on whether to remove the 300-foot buffer required between cannabis dispensaries and residential neighborhoods (as well as between cannabis businesses). Please email, call, and/or attend the June 5th City Council meeting to make a public comment. Potential talking points are at the bottom of this email. If you are willing to attend the June 5th meeting to make a comment, please email me at email@example.com so we can discuss strategy for making this as effective as possible. ALLOWING CANNABIS DISPENSARIES NEAR NEIGHBORHOODS At the June 5th meeting, City Council will be voting on whether to whether to remove the 300-foot buffer requirement between cannabis dispensaries and residential neighborhoods. The proposed ordinance would also remove the requirement for a 300-foot distance between cannabis businesses. You can download the proposed Ordinance here: Ordinance No. 3037 - PDF The cannabis retailers and the City are asserting that it is too difficult to find places to operate that are 300 feet away from residential areas and other cannabis businesses. This Ordinance would remove the wording shown in yellow from the City's requirements for Cannabis dispensaries:
---------------------- Studies have shown that increasing density of cannabis retailers leads to higher rates of youth substance abuse. In the Appendix to the Ordinance (shown at the bottom of this email), you can see that there are already 100+ cannabis businesses registered with the City, so there is certainly no shortage of these businesses in the City. NOTE: The City Council voted on this same issue last Fall. At that time, the removal of the buffer zone did not pass because Mayor Miyagishima, Mayor Pro Tem Gandara, Councilor Abeyta, and Councilor Corran voted to maintain the buffer. TWO WAYS TO TAKE ACTION Potential talking points are below. Previous cannabis issues have seen a massive dominance of support from the cannabis industry in Las Cruces, and there have been relatively few others speaking in opposition. PLEASE EMAIL/CALL CITY COUNCIL Make sure to send individual emails instead of one group email if you want a response. Please be respectful in your communications for the maximum positive impact.
Mayor – Ken Miyagishima - firstname.lastname@example.org – (575)-541-2067
District 1 – Kasandra Gandara - email@example.com – (575)-541-2066
District 2 – Tessa Abeyta - firstname.lastname@example.org - (575) 541-2068
District 3 – Becki Graham - email@example.com – (575)-541-2070
District 4 – Johana Bencomo - firstname.lastname@example.org - (575) 541-2071
District 5 – Becky Corran - email@example.com – (575)-541-2076
District 6 – Yvonne Flores - firstname.lastname@example.org – (575)-541-2069
City Clerk – Christine Rivera - email@example.com - (575) 541-2115
ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING TO GIVE PUBLIC COMMENT This item is on the agenda for the June 5th City Council meeting at 1pm at City Hall (700 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001). We need as many people as possible to attend and give comments on this issue. If you are willing to attend the meeting to make a comment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss strategy for making this as effective as possible.
---------------------- POTENTIAL TALKING POINTS Here are some potential talking points about this issue. Please do NOT copy-paste these verbatim. Your communications will be most effective if you add in your own words as well. NOTE: Any comments which come across as either "not-in-my-backyard" or anti-cannabis will likely make the Council even MORE likely to remove the buffer. Several council members have already expressed in previous meetings that they think the poor cannabis dispensaries are being unfairly targeted and it is not fair that the buffer applies only to single family residential neighborhoods so we should get rid of it. We need to be careful to not add more fuel to their fire with our comments.
Please do not remove the 300-foot buffer zone between cannabis businesses and single family residential areas. Instead, please add this same buffer protection for multi-family residential areas. The children of Las Cruces deserve this protection.
This reference shows that increased density of cannabis businesses leads to increased youth substance abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5534375/ - Among 14-18yo, higher dispensary density was related to higher likelihood of trying cannabis vaping and edibles.
Denver has a required buffer distance of 1000-ft between cannabis businesses and residential areas, so the 300-ft requirement here is really minimal compared to what some other cities are doing.
Please do not prioritize economic incentives over the health and well-being of the children in our community.
Addictive Behaviors Journal - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306460322003185 - Following legalization of recreational marijuana, adolescent marijuana use increases and this increase is associated with a "lower perception of risk of harm". Basically, the kids come to believe that there are less risks and harms from cannabis so more of them are likely to use it.
Las Cruces already has over 100 registrations for cannabis businesses. The argument that there are not enough locations for cannabis businesses is clearly not true. Several cannabis businesses have expressed that they are already undergoing hardship due to saturation of the market with so many dispensaries.
If you remove the 300-foot cannabis buffer, there are going to be more children in Las Cruces who start using drugs at earlier ages.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, cannabis usage in adolescence negatively impacts brain development. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2781289
Las Cruces Public Schools spoke before the Council a few weeks ago and reported they are seeing increased issues with children vaping cannabis in schools, specifically including vaping devices from NM dispensaries.
Please take action if these issues are important to you. We have to be involved if we want to turn things around.
Standing with you in solidarity,
Free People of the Southwest New Mexico Freedoms Alliance