- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - A proposal to turn a former dairy processing plant near Roswell into a place to grow plants, specifically marijuana, isn’t getting high praise from local officials.

A joint city-county commission will meet Tuesday to consider Pecos Valley Pharmaceuticals’ request to rezone the facility as a pharmaceutical manufacturing site. The Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Commission oversees territory within 2 miles of Roswell’s city limits.

Officials have received verbal objections, as well as one in writing, according to a Chaves County Planning & Zoning Department report. Terry Johnson, who runs a septic system company with his family in Roswell, voiced his opposition in a letter. A venture involving marijuana would have “negative economic, social and moral impacts on our community,” Johnson said.

“By locating a medical marijuana facility on the South Main corridor, I feel it would be a detriment to the property value of the surrounding area,” he wrote.

He also called the categorizing of the marijuana farm as a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility deceptive.

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh is also not a fan of the proposal. But he acknowledged that only the county can have a say in the zoning process, the Roswell Daily Record reported ((https://bit.ly/1DWQcH7).

“Ultimately, the city has no direct authority,” Kintigh said. “Plus, the state when it set up this supposed medical marijuana, it took away all local options, which is frustrating.”

But the report endorses approving the zoning change, saying the pot farm would bring economic development. Marlin Johnson, director of the Chaves County Planning & Zoning Department, said the area where the eight-acre facility is located needs a financial boost. Furthermore, the state considers marijuana growing facilities “to be a compassionate care need,” according to the report.

Chaves County commissioners at one time were considering an ordinance to ban marijuana in the county. Instead, they just stated their formal opposition to recreational marijuana.

Currently, there are more than 13,000 patients enrolled in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program.

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Information from: Roswell Daily Record, https://www.roswell-record.com


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