New Mexico agency to appeal judge’s reduced penalty for medical cannabis firm

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A New Mexico district judge ruled in April that state health officials went too far when they punished a medical marijuana producer for showing off a cannabis plant at the 2016 State Fair, and now there’s a new twist involving the Court of Appeals.

Top Organics Ultra Health owner, Duke Rodriguez, told the Albuquerque Journal this week that the state’s Department of Health (DOH) informed him that it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The state DOH originally ordered the company to close for five consecutive days, including 4/20.
  • The nonprofit marijuana producer then filed a petition saying the closure would result in a $150,000 loss and deprive patients of medicine.
  • State District Judge David K. Thomson of Santa Fe found that Ultra Health had no legal permission to take a seedling out of the company’s production facility to be displayed at the Albuquerque fairgrounds in 2016.
  • However, he also found that under the state’s rules, the proposed five-day suspension of the company’s MMJ sales and distributions was “arbitrary, capricious and lacks foundation.”

Thomson reduced the sanction to a closure of two days. The company plans to close June 17 to clean trash along a highway as part of its community service and will close another day in July.

A DOH spokesperson told the Journal the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.