April 29, 2021

Medical cannabis producer loses license

The New Mexico Department of Health has officially revoked the license to grow and manufacture medical cannabis from a Santa Fe-based company that experienced an explosion last year, resulting in injuries.  

In an official determination signed by DOH Secretary Tracie Collins on Monday, the department officially revoked the license for medical cannabis producer New Mexicann based on findings from a hearing officer earlier this year. 

Collins’ final determination cited a number of violations as justification for revoking New Mexicann’s license to both grow medical cannabis and to manufacture derivatives and extracts. Those violations included failure to notify the state of what type of equipment was used for manufacturing, failing to use a “closed” extraction system and for “lifting an open extraction vessel containing an ethanol-based solution in the immediate vicinity of an active heater plate,” which ultimately caused the explosion, according to an investigation by the state.  

At least one method for extracting certain parts of cannabis plants includes using volatile solvents such as butane or ethanol. There have been numerous reports of injuries across the nation involving dangerous extraction methods, both in officially licensed facilities and home operations. New Mexicann also experienced an explosion resulting in injuries in 2015, but it is unclear what, if any, repercussions New Mexicann faced the first time. The Cannabis Regulation Act, which legalizes recreational-use cannabis and goes into effect on June 29, makes home manufacturing using volatile solvents illegal. 

New Mexicann’s license was one of 35 in the state and DOH has not opened the production or manufacturing licensing process for several years. A spokesperson for DOH said the revoked license is not transferable to another producer, effectively eliminating that license. The license revocation presumably bars the former operators from getting a commercial cannabis license under the Cannabis Regulation Act.