SANTA FE, NM – A New Mexico district judge has invalidated the cannabis industry regulations enacted by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and its medical cannabis program. Judge at the 1st district court Bryan Biedscheid said in its ruling that the regulations “were not supported by material evidence”. He also ordered the revision of the regulations.
“We are aware of the decision and are examining options. The department does not otherwise comment on pending litigation, “said an NMDOH spokesman mg about the decision.
The rules were originally proposed in October 2019 and finally approved by state officials in June last year.
The approval spurred the New Mexico-based medical cannabis company Ultra health petition the court in July to invalidate the rules as “arbitrary and capricious”.
Medical cannabis company Pecos Valley production quickly followed suit and filed a motion to waive the regulations in the New Mexico First District Court.
Both petitions were tabled in the same case, and the other petitioners eventually included two other medical cannabis companies, a manufacturer, a testing laboratory and a patient.
The complaints also accused the state of using regulations copied from other states as a model rather than consulting with members and companies of the medical cannabis industry in New Mexico.
“These industry participants are very familiar with the day-to-day running of the New Mexico medical cannabis industry and are therefore more likely to provide relevant New Mexico-specific evidence than the standards that have been removed and inserted from other states,” the Pecos Valley petition said .
Other allegations related to the state’s failure to liaise with its Small Business Regulatory Advisory Committee to determine whether the policy would place unnecessary burdens on companies in the state’s medical cannabis industry.
The lawsuit also alleged that the state had not published the technical processes of its regulation and thus violated its obligations to the public, in particular to the parties concerned.
Company lawyers added that a request to NMDOH to create rules had been delayed.
The provisions that were repealed by the judge’s decision included:
- Suspension or revocation of a license without notice.
- Prohibition of growing hemp plants on properties approved for medicinal cannabis cultivation.
- Prohibition of combining hemp, hemp extract and hemp products other than hemp paper and hemp seed oil for use with usable cannabis intended for sale.
- Test requirements that set extremely stringent levels of activity for microbes, mycotoxins, heavy metals and pesticides.
- Cannabis makers, manufacturers, and testing laboratories must obtain approval from the department before making “physical changes or additions” to their facilities.
- All cannabis producers and manufacturers must have washable, wipeable, and non-absorbent floors, walls and ceilings.
- Specification of a critical control point plan for hazard analysis (HACCP) for every product that a manufacturer produces.
- Elaborate, double product labeling required.
After the decision, the state medical cannabis companies will continue to operate under previous regulations.
“The judge’s decision has a huge impact on the business of Ultra Health and every other cannabis producer in New Mexico,” said Ultra Health’s chief marketing officer Marissa Roman told mg.
“Operators don’t need to fear suspension or revocation of their license without notice, get department approval before upgrading their facilities or making the simplest changes, and investing capital in changing their cultivation, manufacturing and laboratory facilities to Meet inappropriate specifications. and more, ”said Novel. “Essentially, this decision allows cannabis operators to invest in their growth rather than spending inordinate amounts of time, money and energy on complying with regulations that just don’t make sense to the industry.”
The judge’s decision comes when state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appear intent on promoting the legalization of recreational cannabis in the state, which currently only allows the sale of medicinal cannabis.
Senate Act 13 was introduced by Senator this week Daniel Ivey-Soto (DN.M.). The bill would create a regulator to oversee adult sales in the state while leaving the existing regulatory infrastructure for medical marijuana “intact,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.
Senate Act 288 was also introduced by Senator this week Cliff Pirtle (RN.M.) and would set tax rates for recreational cannabis while also setting up a cannabis control committee to oversee the state’s recreational cannabis program.
“I believed you wouldn’t show up for work if you weren’t going to hurt anyone [intoxicated]They do not pose a threat to other people that household marijuana use is their business.
“As long as we make sure that companies can have a drug-free, intolerant workforce and people don’t use them in public and in such matters, I think I can support that,” Pritle told the newspaper.