The list of medical cannabis companies filing legal complaints against the New Mexico Department of Health continues to grow.
This week, two more medical cannabis producers, a cannabis manufacturer, a cannabis testing laboratory and a patient licensed to grow medical cannabis filed petitions in state district court asking a judge to annul rules adopted by the DOH earlier this month. That’s in addition to the two other medical cannabis producers who filed petitions against the state last week.
Also notable is the list of attorneys representing the medical cannabis companies, as it includes two current legislators, a former commissioner with the state’s Public Regulation Commission, a former attorney general candidate and a former congressional candidate, all from across the state’s political spectrum.
Medical cannabis producer Ultra Health was the first company to file a petition last week and is represented in part by Brian Egolf, a Democrat who also serves as the state’s Speaker of the House. On Tuesday, former PRC commissioner Jason Marks, also a Democrat, filed a separate petition on behalf of his clients, Scepter Lab, one of two testing laboratories in the state, and medical cannabis manufacturer Vitality Extracts.
Then on Thursday, Jacob Candelaria, who serves as a Democratic state senator, filed a petition on behalf of medical cannabis producer and manufacturer G&G Genetics. Also joining the initial case on Thursday was medical cannabis patient and licensed cannabis grower Heath Grider, represented by former Libertarian attorney general candidate Blair Dunn and Jared Vander Dussen, who recently lost in a three-way primary for the Republican nomination in New Mexico’s First Congressional District.
All of the petitioners are asking for generally the same thing: for a judge to invalidate rules recently promulgated by the Department of Health, which oversees the state’s Medical Cannabis Program.
The new petitioners, like the initial petitioners, argue that many of the new rules regarding cannabis testing, labeling and growing are “arbitrary and capricious.”
But the new petitioners are also adding to the list of concerns.
Increased testing, increased prices
Marks, who is representing Scepter Lab and Vitality Extracts in a case of their own, argued in his petition that the department’s new testing standards are not based on actual data or research, but instead based on language borrowed from other states — particularly states with less arid climates that New Mexico.
One of the new rules is that medical cannabis must be tested for mycotoxins or naturally occurring toxic substances that come from certain types of fungi.
Marks argued that out of more than 15,000 tests conducted in New Mexico since the rule was implemented, none came back positive for mycotoxins.
He added that tests for mycotoxin testing on a national level produced a relatively small amount of positives but that those results were likely from “climates more likely to lead to mycotoxin production than New Mexico’s.”
Marks also argued that testing standards for heavy metals and pesticides were not based on true research. Heavy metals, Marks wrote, are only introduced through soil and water and that testing water systems and soil used to grow medical cannabis would be the better way to detect heavy metals.