The city of Roswell was “making history,” in the words of one city employee, as a citizens’ commission recommended that two businesses be allowed to sell recreational marijuana in the city limits.
The city of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously, 7-0, on Tuesday night during a meeting at the Roswell Convention Center to recommend that Pecos Valley Production and Ultra Health be allowed to add adult-use sales to their existing medical cannabis retail businesses in Roswell.
The Roswell City Council is expected to consider the applications during its May 12 meeting.
Adult use sales were authorized by the New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act starting April 1, but no business had complied with the city’s cannabis business application processes by that time.
The first vote, on Pecos Valley Production’s application for its dispensary at 313 W. Country Club Road, Suite 10, was greeted with applause by company representatives and some people attending the meeting. Community Development Director Kevin Maevers shook hands with company officers and said, “We are making history.”
On April 19, the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Commission approved Pecos Valley Production’s request for a conditional use permit to open a new retail store for both adult-use and medical marijuana at 5104 S. Main St. Company officers have said it will take about two months before the site is ready to open.
A few minutes after its vote on the Pecos Valley Production application, the commission also recommended approval for recreational sales at Ultra Health’s dispensary at 2800 N. Main St., Suite 4.
The decisions involved approving variances, zone changes and conditional use permits. Maevers said that, in a departure from procedure for most planning and zoning cases, city staff will not make any recommendation regarding cannabis applications. But he also said both companies had complied with the city’s requirements.
No one appeared at the public hearing to speak against the applications. Maevers said no official protests had been lodged prior to the meeting. He did add that some people had called to ask questions or make comments about the application for Pecos Valley Production, which has the corporate name of Pecos Valley Pharmaceuticals. The company had to request a variance because it will be only 22 feet to the south of residential areas, when city ordinance requires such businesses to be at least 300 feet from residential areas.
Ultra Health, or New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health, also had to seek a variance because it is only 260 feet rather than 300 feet from a day care.
Both companies have received Vertically Integrated Cannabis Establishment (VICE) licenses from the state, and Maevers said that the information they submitted for the state licenses was reviewed by the city.
Business Development and Expansion Director Leonard Salgado and Owner Jason Greathouse with Pecos Valley Production and Chief Legal Officer Kristina Caffrey and CEO Duke Rodriquez with Ultra Health talked about the public safety measures they use. They said that includes package labels to warn against allowing product within the reach of children or operating a motor vehicle after use, requiring photo IDs to enter premises and make purchases, using surveillance cameras and trained security personnel on premises, and locking up product during operating hours and placing it in secured safes after hours.
They also talked about what they consider to be the importance of the economic contribution to the area because of the jobs they have created and the taxes that will come to the county and city with recreational cannabis sales, which are not collected on medical cannabis transactions.
Greathouse said that its 2022 financial projections are that the city and county will each receive $100,000 from the excise tax.
“The gross receipts to the city alone is $237,000,” he said. “The economic impact of our payroll and our workforce is $12 million a year.”
Caffrey said Ultra Health has been in Roswell since 2019 and operates 30 locations in New Mexico. She said that people from Texas are coming to Hobbs, Sunland Park and Portales dispensaries for adult-use purchases and thinks Roswell can work to promote the cannabis industry in conjunction with its other tourism efforts.
“We are ready to provide professional and responsible service for both community members of Roswell and any visitors who choose to come here,” Caffrey said.
Rodriquez said that Ultra Health is seeing about 42% to 45% of its adult-use sales occurring in eastern New Mexico dispensaries.
“I can assure you that you are going to see Roswell be very successful. It brings patients in. It brings adults in,” he said.
Maevers said that five to six more recreational cannabis applications have been filed with the city, and four are expected to be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission at its May meeting.