A Resolution to appeal a decision to revoke a City-issued business license to Speak Easy LLC, a limited liability company, was unanimously denied by the Las Cruces City Council at its Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, regular meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall.
The business license was revoked because an investigation conducted by the Las Cruces/Doña Ana Metro Narcotics Task Force concluded that personnel from Speak Easy LLC allegedly possessed, distributed, sold, bartered, or gave away cannabis products to undercover agents in violation of state laws and City ordinances.
Las Cruces/Doña Ana Metro Narcotics submitted a sworn statement summarizing its investigation. Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Holguin, a former agent for Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics told City Council at Tuesday’s meeting that transactions without an approved cannabis license were illegal.
In its business application, Speak Easy LLC purported to be engaged in retail trade. Based upon that information and an inspection of the business, the City’s Community Development Department issued Speak Easy LLC a business license because it initially complied with the LCMC.
However, such a business license can be revoked if the licensee “has violated any... city ordinance ... or whenever, in the judgment of the City Manager, the public welfare shall require it,” according LCMC Section 16-97(a). On Sept. 30, 2021, Community Development Director Larry Nichols informed Jason Estrada, the owner of Speak Easy LC, that the Community Development Department intended to revoke the business license, based on the investigation findings and violation of City ordinances.
Jason Estrada, through his attorney, appealed the decision to revoke the business license. At Tuesday’s meeting, there was agreement from City Council that the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics investigation regardingSpeak Easy LLC was substantive and to support its decision to uphold revocation of the business license.
Additionally at Tuesday’s meeting, City Council adopted the Council’s Standard Rules of Procedure. The Las Cruces City Charter requires the Council to adopt, through Resolution, its own rules, policies and order of business.
The City Council Standard Rules of Procedure provides the required rules and polices the Council needs to conduct meetings and general City business. The Rules include annotations explaining the rules and references to authoritative sections of the City Charter and the Las Cruces Municipal Code.
The Rules are to be interpreted and administered in a manner consistent with the City Charter, the City’s Municipal Code, and state laws. The Rules also serve as the rules of procedure for City commissions, committees, and advisory boards.