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City Launches Cannabis Retail Applications

First steps toward making entry into the cannabis retail industry available for entrepreneurs

February 4, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – The City of Albuquerque is now accepting online applications for cannabis retail locations. This is a major step toward creating an equitable path forward for individuals, collectives, and organizations who want to enter the new recreational cannabis retail industry.

All cannabis locations where cannabis or cannabis products are sold directly to consumers are required to obtain a Cannabis Retail Location Approval from the City’s Planning Department. Properly completed applications that comply with the City’s zoning regulations, separation requirements, and other applicable rules and ordinances outlined on the website, will be verified and approved on a first come, first served basis.

“We carefully studied various methods for ensuring that all interested State-licensed cannabis retailers had a fair chance to lock in a location, and we concluded that a first come, first served approach can work efficiently,” said Interim Director of the Planning Department, Alan Varela.

State law authorizes the City to regulate the time, place, and manner of cannabis sales. The City’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) provides that a cannabis retail establishment shall not be located within 300 feet of a school or child day care facility or within 600 feet of another cannabis retail establishment. However, the IDO does allow a cannabis retail establishment to seek a Conditional Use Approval to be located within 600 feet of another cannabis retail location. A cannabis retail location licensed by the State as a microbusiness can locate within 600 feet of another cannabis retail location.

In order to gather public input about legalized cannabis, the City is holding a series of Community Cannabis Equity Convenings that began in late January and welcomes continued feedback through an online form. Additional opportunities to comment on the City’s cannabis rules and social equity program will be available over the coming weeks.

The information and application webpage for securing cannabis retail locations in Albuquerque is now live at cabq.gov/cannabis. The page includes rules, frequently asked questions that list the items that must be included with the applications, and access to the application form.

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