A beneficial cannabis producer license that was issued by the New Mexico Office of Well being with minimal observe only days right before the agency shed its regulatory authority is raising eyebrows. Some of the state’s marijuana sector insiders are calling for an investigation into the affair amid allegations of favoritism.
The license awarded to Albuquerque-dependent GH LLC arrived significantly less than a 7 days ahead of the wellness department ceded authority in excess of the state’s Health-related Hashish Program (MCP) to the state’s new Cannabis Control Division, which was developed adhering to the legalization of adult-use hashish by New Mexico lawmakers in April. The license, the 1st awarded by the wellness section in 6 a long time, was issued subsequent a short, unannounced software interval in June.
“This new licensee system has unquestionably ignited a reasonable amount of distrust, elevated eyebrows and inquiries,” Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of New Mexico Top rated Organics-Extremely Well being, the state’s most significant medical cannabis company, informed the Santa Fe New Mexican final week.
“There are a variety of fantastic people who have invested time, effort and sources when not understanding there could possibly have been an express lane,” he stated.
License Awarded Right after Unannounced Application Time period in New Mexico
On June 23, only times in advance of the Cannabis Manage Division of the state Regulation and Licensing Office took over cannabis regulation, the wellbeing division posted a recognize on its website titled “Medical Hashish Certified Non-Financial gain Producer Software Guidance.” No official see that apps were being staying approved was issued, even so, although an on-line application detailed a June 28 deadline.
In accordance to paperwork received underneath a community data ask for, on June 25, only two days right after the software recommendations were being posted, GH LLC submitted a 731-site software for a nonprofit healthcare hashish producer license. On Sunday, June 27, Dominick Zurlo, director of the MCP, and Billy Jimenez, general counsel and deputy secretary of the Division of Wellbeing, visited the GH LLC facility in Alburqueque to carry out an inspection. A person day later the “legacy” producer license was issued by the section for a rate of $10,000.
“In my view, this was a filthy affair,” claimed Willie Ford, taking care of director of Reynold Greenleaf & Associates, a consulting organization for cannabis businesses. “This was of course someone producing it take place for someone else.”
Well being Section Responds to Inquiries
Division of Health and fitness spokeswoman Baylee Rawson said that the division “often posts bulletins through the internet site,” adding that the website is frequented commonly by healthcare cannabis license holders and patients.
“It is also one particular of the key techniques made use of to existing information and facts and updates about the plan which includes meeting announcements, affected person figures, academic supplies and other experiences and files,” Rawson wrote in an email.
Rawson also wrote that for various months, the Section of Wellbeing had been performing “on opening licenses for extra licensees to enable assure people experienced added options for acquiring their medicine.” When questioned about the Sunday inspection for the duration of the slim software window, Rawson explained that, “It is not unusual for MCP workers to function on weekends because of to the higher workload and desire for providers.”
Email messages obtained as a result of the public documents request present that after the transfer of responsibility for the Health care Hashish System, choices relating to the GH LLC application have been created by top officers at the Hashish Manage Division. In August, performing deputy director of small business operations for the division Nicole Bazzano questioned well being and security specialist Joshua Wilson for an update on the position of the application.
“It’s my effect that they are just waiting on the inspection from you in purchase to commence making/manufacturing, is that accurate?” she wrote. “What can we do to get them taken treatment of and up and running appropriately and lawfully?”
The following working day, Wilson replied that he “had to go again and do a little bit of analysis on this one” and that he “largely” had no information on the approval of the license.
“The processing, inspection and acceptance ended up finished at a stage above MCP License and Compliance employees,” he wrote. “After wanting at the acceptance letter, it does look that they ended up issued some type of conditional approval permitting for the completion of infrastructure and necessitating re-inspection in advance of being allowed to cultivate, manufacture, or distribute.”
The ‘Mack Daddy of Licenses’
Rodriguez of Ultra Well being characterised the license awarded to GH LLC as the “mack daddy of licenses.”
“You’re the vertically built-in license that makes it possible for you to do everything—produce, manufacturing—you can do all individuals issues,” he stated. “The new approach under the [Cannabis Regulation Act] makes you topic to possessing this silo impact. You have to get a license for manufacturing. You have to get a license for retail. You have to get a license for output.”
Professional medical cannabis advocate Larry Really like, the host and producer of Santa Fe-based mostly Health care Marijuana Radio, mentioned that he is familiar with “plenty of people” who would have applied for the healthcare cannabis producer license had the software time period been publicized by the health section in progress.
“It just does not appear to be honest to the public, realizing that an individual was in a position to get a license ahead of everybody else,” explained Appreciate.
But in a quick job interview last week, GH LLC founder Vance Dugger seemingly shrugged off the controversy in excess of the license, indicating “We submitted an application like every person else.”