SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico well being officers in late June briefly opened a window to submit functions for profitable licenses for pot manufacturing after which accredited the one utility acquired, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
The Well being Division’s dealing with of the method that resulted within the license being issued June 28 to Albuquerque-based GH LLC after minimal public discover has prompted allegations of favoritism and requires an investigation.
“In my view, this was a grimy affair,” mentioned Willie Ford, managing director of Reynold Greenleaf & Associates, a consulting agency for hashish companies. “This was clearly someone making it occur for someone else.”
The state had not allowed producers to use for licenses within the earlier six years, as the brand new Hashish Management Division of the state Regulation and Licensing Division ready to take oversight of licensing of the hashish business on June 29. New Mexico this yr legalized leisure marijuana and people gross sales will begin by April 1, 2022.
The Well being Division’s June 23 web site posting of “Medical Hashish Licensed Non-Revenue Producer Software Directions” didn’t explicitly say the division was accepting new functions, although a web-based utility type gave a June 28 deadline, the New Mexican reported.
Paperwork obtained beneath a public information confirmed that GH LLC submitted a 713-page utility for a nonprofit medical hashish producer license June 25 and that two senior Well being Division officers inspected the corporate’s amenities two days afterward a Sunday, sooner or later earlier than the license was granted.
GH LLC “submitted an utility like everybody else,” mentioned firm founder Vance Dugger, who can also be CEO or founding father of three street service and towing corporations.
Well being Division spokeswoman Baylee Rawson instructed the New Mexican in an e mail that the company “typically posts bulletins by means of the web site” to tell license holders and sufferers about program updates.
Rawson mentioned it wasn’t uncommon for division officers to work on weekends and that the division had labored for months “on opening licenses for added licensees to assist guarantee sufferers had extra choices for acquiring their treatment.”
Rawson didn’t reply follow-up questions on whether or not the division had disclosed it was engaged on such an effort, the New Mexican reported.
Ford and others within the business mentioned the appliance opening seems to have been stored secret intentionally.
“This new licensee course of has actually ignited a good quantity of mistrust, raised eyebrows and questions,” mentioned Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of New Mexico High Organics-Extremely Well being, the state’s largest medical hashish operation.
“There are a variety of fine people who’ve invested time, effort and sources whereas not realizing there might need been an specific lane,” he mentioned.
“It is a lottery ticket,” Rodriguez mentioned, including folks within the business are referring to the license approval as “weedgate.”