New Mexico fines, revokes licenses of 2 cannabis operations

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New Mexico regulators revoked the licenses of two cannabis facilities operating in close proximity and issued $1 million fines to each for violations such as growing too many plants and not complying with the mandated track-and-trace system.

One of the companies, Native American Agricultural Development Co. (NAADC), is linked to Navajo businessperson Dineh Benally, whose operations in another part of the state was raided by federal authorities in 2020, according to the Associated Press.

Operations at that facility came to an end after the Navajo Department of Justice sued Benally.

Separately, Chinese immigrant workers also sued Benally, alleging they were required to do illegal work trimming flower on the Navajo Nation.

The NAADC’s license was revoked for eight alleged violations, including growing too many plants, not complying by security and chain of custody procedures, and poor pest and refuse management, according to the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Authorities cited nearby Bliss Farm, which is not connected to NAADC, for 17 violations that included not using the state’s mandated track-and-trace system, growing too many plants and erecting unlicensed structures.

An attorney representing Bliss Farm’s investors told the Associated Press that he wished regulators had worked with the company before revoking the license and issuing the fine.

“We did our best to get into compliance, but we fell below the bar,” he said.

According to the Daily Post, the two facilities are located within miles of each other in Torrance County near Estancia, about 56 miles southeast of Albuquerque.