New Mexico judge rejects changes to state’s medical marijuana rules

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A New Mexico state district court judge ruled invalid changes to the state’s medical marijuana regulations in 2020 that would have made significant alterations to the program.

The amendments to the rules included a requirement that marijuana growers modify licenses when physical changes are made to facilities as well as increased cannabis testing requirements for pesticides and heavy metals, according to NM Political Report.

First Judicial District Court Judge Bryan Biedscheid wrote that the rule changes lacked evidence from the program and the New Mexico health department – which oversees medical marijuana in the state – to support the amendments.

The judge also wrote that the changes are invalid because the program failed to consult the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board beforehand.

According to NM Politics, the health department gave no indication whether it would appeal the ruling or “start the rulemaking process over again.”

The group of petitioners – including Ultra Health, the state’s largest MMJ company – that originally filed the suit argued the rules were arbitrary and that the increased testing requirement would negatively impact medical marijuana patients, especially through increased prices.

The New Mexico program already had marijuana labeling and testing standards in place, and those will remain as is.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis sales are on pace to reach around $200 million this year. The state’s MMJ sales totaled $130 million in 2019, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook.