The Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended that children be admitted to pharmacies with their parents or guardians – amid concerns about challenges parents might face if they couldn’t bring their children with them when buying marijuana.
The recommendation would apply to both existing medical and upcoming recreational cannabis programs.
Draft rules by the state cannabis control department – which the committee is mandated to advise – restrict access to pharmacies to people who are 21 or older or at least 18 years old and have a medical patient or family doctor ID.
Some committee members fear that the rule would put parents at a disadvantage.
“My main concern is the people who cannot afford childcare to buy legal cannabis and the medical patients who are currently accessing their medication while bringing their children with them,” said member Rachael Speegle.
Another committee member, Paul Haidle, said it could be difficult for retailers to verify if a minor was with their parents or guardians.
“It seems to me that it is easier to check a person’s age and date of birth, but it seems less easy to check that someone is actually with their guardian or parent,” said Haidle.
Haidle, assistant chief of legal services for the city of Albuquerque, initially said he wanted to speak to the city’s planning and law enforcement experts before voting.
Chairwoman Emily Kaltenbach later pointed out that there is a parallel with liquor stores that allow children with their parents and that many other provisions in state recreational cannabis legalization law mirror the Alcohol Control Act.
Haidle said that if the rule were in line with the liquor store regulation, the city would “have no heartburn”.
The recommendation that the State Department review and consider introducing a rule conforming to the Liquor Control Act was unanimously adopted.
Also at its meeting on Wednesday, the committee recommended postponing the deadline for drawing up a social and economic justice plan for the department from October 15 to January 1, 2022, when the state needs to start issuing production licenses.