New Mexico Revokes Two Cultivation Licenses, Fines Each $1M Apiece

New Mexico marijuana regulators took their most strident enforcement actions to date against rule breaking cannabis businesses, by revoking the grow permits of two cultivation facilities and fining each $1 million apiece.

Both of the farms, located within miles of each other in rural Torrance County, were found repeatedly to be in violation of multiple rules by state inspectors and likely selling cannabis into the underground market, according to a statement from the state Regulation and Licensing Department.

Bliss Farm and Native American Agricultural Development Co. were found to be growing more than the legal number of marijuana plants, ignoring the mandatory track-and-trace system, and to have “unsafe conditions” at their respective facilities, the NMRLD said.

Bliss Farm previously was cited for “multiple alarming violations,” initially in August, with a total of 17 violations. The company requested a hearing on the citations, which was slated for Oct. 19, at which time an attorney for Bliss Farm insisted that it had taken care of all deficiencies.

“However, upon returning to the facility, compliance officers did not see any evidence that the violations were fixed,” the NMRLD said in a release.

Native American Agricultural Development Co. received eight citations, which included “improper security measures, no chain of custody procedures, and ill-maintained grounds with trash and pests throughout,” on top of the illegal plant counts and evidence of selling to the underground market, the NMRLD said.

And at both facilities, state inspectors found evidence of recent cannabis harvests, but with zero corresponding track-and-trace system info, which led the NMRLD to conclude that both were likely “transferred or sold illicitly.”

“Compliance within the industry is the CCD’s main priority and our office is committed to ensuring New Mexicans have access to safe cannabis products,” Todd Stevens, Cannabis Control Division director, said in the release, adding that the license revocations were for “the appropriate action for violations at a scale we hadn’t seen before.”

“The outcomes were justified under the law based on the egregious conduct of these individuals and I hope this serves as a reminder to those who might be violating the laws and rules the state has put forth,” Stevens said.

The most recent actions bring the CCD’s enforcement totals thus far to six permit revocations and $2.3 million in fines issued, the agency said.

Stevens told lawmakers last year that the industry is rife with rule breaking, and that the CCD will continue inspections and corresponding enforcement in coming months.

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