Questionable New Mexico cannabis license raises allegations of unfairness

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(This story has been updated with comment from GH.)

The New Mexico cannabis industry is in an uproar over allegations of favoritism by state regulators after the lead agency overseeing medical marijuana companies quietly reopened applications for business licenses, awarded one permit and then closed the window again.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the state health department, without a public announcement, began accepting applications for marijuana cultivation licenses for one week in late June before all industry oversight was transferred to the new Cannabis Control Division.

The health department received one application that week and awarded a license to the applicant, Albuquerque-based GH, the New Mexican reported.

The application window was the first time since 2015 that New Mexico cannabis regulators had made new business permits available, but the lack of communication to the industry and others who would have been interested in applying has many crying foul.

But the chief executive of GH told the New Mexican that “we submitted an application like everyone else.”

Several in the New Mexico market are referring to the incident as “weedgate,” the newspaper reported, and the chief executive of one MMJ company in the state said the industry is “up in arms” over how the process played out.

As an indicator of how much interest there is in New Mexico marijuana permits, the Cannabis Control Division received nearly 900 applications in August for cultivation licenses.

In April, the state became one of the latest to legalize recreational marijuana, and the upcoming new market has many in the industry eager to get a foothold.