NM: Medical Marijuana Greenhouse Eyeing Moriarty

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A medical marijuana company is looking to set up a cannabis growing operation in Moriarty, but it will require holding a public hearing first.

The dilemma about how to zone a marijuana growing operation had been recently raised by Mayor Ted Hart, but the debate became a moot point when Mother Earth Herbs, a Doña Ana County-based company in the medical marijuana business since 2010, applied for a business license for a vacant lot in the Homestead Estates development.

At its Aug. 24 meeting, the Moriarty City Council had to decide on a recommendation from its Planning and Zoning Commission to give Mother Earth Herbs a conditional commercial zoning designation because a medical marijuana growing operation didn’t exactly fit the categories of established land uses. For example, although it would involve growing plants, City Clerk Sheila Murphy said it didn’t fall within the floral shop categorizations because there would be no retail sales.

The commission had considered limiting it to an agricultural zone, like a greenhouse or nursery, but settled on the commercial zone under conditional use permit, Murphy said. That action, however, would require a public hearing so that a commercial medical marijuana growing operation could be added to the list of allowable commercial land uses for that zoning, she said.

Councilor Dennis Shanfeldt said he believed that a medical marijuana growing operation should have its own separate zoning category. But councilors were told by city staff they were limited to accepting or rejecting the P&Z Commission’s recommendation.

In the end, the council voted to accept the commission’s recommendation and to call for a public hearing for amending land uses to include medical cannabis growing. Councilor Steve Anaya voted against the motion, saying he wanted more time to study the question.

The public hearing on amending the city’s land use ordinance is set for the Sept. 28 City Council meeting. The Mother Earth Herbs operation will be the second known medical marijuana greenhouse operation to set up shop in the Estancia Valley with Natural Rx’s greenhouse near Mountainair.

In other business at the Aug. 24 meeting, City Council heard fundraising for the Veterans Monument in Moriarty is going well with more than $26,000 donated to help complete the $250,000 project to honor all veterans and recognize veterans from the Estancia Valley and East Mountains.

The City of Moriarty has committed $150,000 to the monument to be built near the City Park with another $25,000 in a legislative appropriation.

Mike Anaya, who is heading the monument’s fundraising efforts, told the Moriarty City Council that $26,500 had been raised as of that night. Anaya had earlier spoken to the Edgewood Town Council meeting and received donations from people in attendance.

Anaya said he was confident more than $50,000 will be raised by October, when a spaghetti dinner, raffle and silent auction will be held at the Moriarty Civic Center.

In addition to Edgewood, Anaya said he has been reaching out to communities such as Estancia and Willard. Besides taking small individual donations, those donating $1,000 or more will be recognized as sponsors, an option that Anaya said has been well received.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Medical Marijuana Greenhouse Eyeing Moriarty
Author: Todd G. Dickson
Contact: (505) 823-7100
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong
Website: Mountain View Telegraph