Farmington council discuss possessing, consuming cannabis



This ordinance is scheduled to be voted on during Oct. 14 meeting

FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council approved publishing a proposed ordinance dealing with changes to the city’s code for possessing and consuming cannabis.

Councilors also discussed whether the municipality could restrict consumption of cannabis to inside a residence on private property, then decided against addressing that issue.

Farmington councilors approved publishing a draft of an ordinance amending the parts of the Farmington Code of Ordinances Chapter 18 during a Sept. 14 meeting, according to a copy of the ordinance and video recording of the meeting.

This draft ordinance does not tackle revisions to the city’s Unified Development code, which could include prohibiting grow houses or cultivation of cannabis plants within city limits and possibly limiting retail sales to the General Commercial district.

More: Farmington council discusses proposed ordinance changes due to cannabis legalization

Chapter 18 handles Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions, which details how municipal offenses are enforced including assault, fraud, graffiti, trespass and disorderly conduct.

The two-page ordinance builds upon the past work councilors have done, including having a July 20 discussion during a city council work session.

Some of the revisions to city code include changes to allow those 21 years old and over to possess cannabis and drug paraphernalia and prohibiting sales to those 20 years old and younger.

Another update is stating it’s unlawful to consume cannabis on a public sidewalk, park, building or place as defined by state law.

The state defines “public place” as hallways, lobbies and other parts of apartment complexes and hotels along with streets, schools, parks, playgrounds, highways and places used for public transportation.

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Most of the discussion between councilors and Mayor Nate Duckett focused on one line dealing with cannabis consumption on private property.

The line included by City Attorney Jennifer Breakell states “It shall be lawful to consume marijuana in the enclosed area of a private residence,” according to the draft ordinance.

Breakell told the council she included the line as way to balance a person’s right to consume cannabis by possibly smoking it with a person’s ability to enjoy their private property free of cannabis smoke.

Duckett and some of the councilors questioned if it was possible for the Farmington Police Department to enforce that provision, using someone smoking cannabis on their patio as an example.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe told the council it would be an enforcement nightmare for the department.

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Hebbe said while he had reservations about the Cannabis Regulation Act and how smoking cannabis could disturb people on their property, he would prefer not to put officers in a spot to enforce it.

Duckett and some councilors suggested updating the line to state it is lawful to consume cannabis in the comfort of your residence. 

This ordinance is set to come before the council for approval during an upcoming Oct. 12 meeting.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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