Letter To The Editor: Update On Atomic City Cannabis Company’s Quest

By WILLIAM and COLLETE HUNTER
Los Alamos 

First of all, with the Holiday Season upon us, we say Happy Holidays to all!  

Second, we write to to provide an update on our quest. And, most importantly, to request the community’s support for our quest to open a home-based integrated cannabis microbusiness here in LA County.

This is the third letter either one or both of us have written regarding this subject. If you have not read the first two, we invite you to do so. They are located in the “Letters section of the Los Alamos Daily Post. The first letter was published Nov. 4.

To begin, we thought it would be good to let the community know that there are several benefits to having a home-based integrated cannabis microbusiness here.

To wit, here is a list of the benefits the community stands to gain if we are allowed by LA County to start and run such a business here: 

  • Ours would be the first cannabis business in LA County to provide medical cannabis patients with a local option to obtain their medicine. Until such time, and since 2007, all medical cannabis patients must go “off the hill” to obtain their medicine.  
  • Ours would be the first cannabis business in LA County to provide cannabis products to any  qualifying adult 21 years of age or older (all patients/consumers would be “carded”, so to speak, as per the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) and its rules).  
  • Ours would be the first cannabis business to offer delivery (courier) service. Many medical  cannabis patients have physical or other types of impairments that mean they cannot very easily travel “off the hill” to obtain their medicine. This alone is a valuable service for many in our community. It’s also a real plus for qualifying consumers, some of whom may experience similar life circumstances, or would like a local source for cannabis products, or just want to “try it out”.  
  • The CRA was (well) written in such a way to encourage the establishment and growth of the  cannabis industry in NM via integrated cannabis microbusinesses. Sure, there will be big  commercial cannabis enterprises operating around the State. We understand there are also risks associated with the cannabis industry; however, those risks are well-addressed by the Cannabis Regulation Act itself, and so will not be addressed by our letter. Building a new cannabis industry can happen more organically and effectively, via these integrated  microbusinesses. After all, small business has been much of the “backbone” of our state and national economies, so why not here in Los Alamos, too?  
  • We have a competitive retail microbusiness model – ours would start very small and lean with low overhead and other expenses, grow slowly, and possibly expand as the market and other business conditions allow. We can offer excellent, yet simple, hand-crafted cannabis products at good prices along with consumer education about same. As most community members know, leasing business space in Los Alamos is expensive, and limited due to zoning and/or space quality and availability. Much retail space in Los Alamos is in “limbo”, such as the Old Smith’s Building, the CB Fox building, the Meri-Mac Shopping complex, the old Metzger’s convenience store property, etc. We own our property free and clear, and it’s not about to be demolished nor will it be repossessed or be vacant for months and even years. This business would provide some of our own retirement income, too! 
  • Our business model also includes utilizing “environmentally-friendly resources”. These resources include drip irrigation, and natural outdoor lighting for cultivation. Also, no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides will be used in cultivation (Healthy Cannabis plants are amazingly disease/pest resistant!). Electricity for the retail portion of our business will be provided by our 14 panel roof-top solar array.  
  • LA County can benefit from receiving gross receipts tax revenue, plus a 1/3 portion of the  State Cannabis excise tax comes back to the county in which the cannabis was sold. The  state excise tax will start out at 12 percent, and rise, year over year, until it reaches 18 percent. This means LA County can receive a portion of gross receipts taxes collected at 7.3125 percent, plus receive 4 percent – 6 percent in additional tax revenue from cannabis consumer sales. Please note,  however, that per the CRA, no taxes can be charged on cannabis products sold to qualifying  medical cannabis patients.  

Here is an update regarding our quest to open Atomic City Cannabis Company:

  • We have submitted almost all of the required documentation for our State license application for an Integrated Cannabis Microbusiness. All we await is the County Council’s Zoning decision, along with the issuance of the county business license.  
  • Nov. 8, we submitted all documentation required to obtain a home-based business license in LA County. At that time, we were informed we must await the County Council’s  decision regarding the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation regarding cannabis retail ordinance (a mouthful for sure!). The proposed ordinance will be introduced  at the County Council meeting Today, Nov. 16. Then, there will be a period for the Council to gather community input, etc. The decision on the recommendation will be made at a County Council Regular Session meeting Dec. 7. The meetings are held via Zoom, for now, and all meeting information, including Zoom details, agendas, supporting documentation, etc., can be obtained from the County’s “Legistarwebsite.  
  • We plan to attend the December County Council meeting, and offer our public testimony/ comment and information about the P&Z Commission’s recommendation (very much like we already have at other recent meetings). During our Public Testimony, we will also urge the County Council to reject the recommendation, and go with the provisions of the Cannabis Regulation Act.  

Here is our request for community support. Any members of our LA community who believe the community will benefit (in any way) from having a home-based cannabis microbusiness such as ours, please express your support in these ways on or before the County Council meeting Dec. 7:

  • By writing a “Letter to the Editor” at the Los Alamos Daily Post (the newspaper of record for LA County). Your letter may be emailed to caclark@ladailypost.com. And, more importantly, please send this same letter to the County Council, if you are so inclined. Or, if  you are not comfortable writing a Letter to the Editor, please send your support letter, via email, directly to the Council. The County Council’s email address: countycouncil@lacnm.us.
  • By attending the aforementioned December County Council meeting, and giving public  testimony/comment at same.
  • Sharing our “Letters to the Editor” with others in our community who may not know all of this is happening, and/or would like to participate in the process by supporting our quest. An example, would be sharing our letters/this situation on (Los Alamos) “neighborhood”/“next door” mobile device apps.

With all this said, if the County Council adopts the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation, we will re-evaluate our options to establish a home-based integrated cannabis microbusiness, perhaps leaving Los Alamos altogether (simply preparing for and renting our LA property) to find a more welcoming small business environment. We would prefer not to do this, as we love living in Los Alamos! Also, Los Alamos County stands to lose what promises to be a very good home-based small business/new industry. How many more small business opportunities can Los Alamos County stand to lose? Essentially, this represents a golden opportunity for LA County to capitalize on a new industry, and bolster our seriously flagging small business community in the process!  

And so, with much resolve and hope, we continue our quest! We do so appreciate any timely assistance our community can give us! Thank you ever so much! 

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