The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has fined three companies a total of $800,000 for pesticide and regulatory infractions, the Telegram & Gazette reports. The fines were levied against Garden Remedies Inc., 4Front Holdings-owned Healthy Farms, also known as Mission, and The Botanist, which is owned by Acreage Holdings, Inc.
Healthy Farms was fined $350,000 for pesticide use dating back to February 2019 and the CCC said the company failed to immediately report test results showing pesticide use, unintentionally submitted false information, and incorrectly entered information into Metrc, the state’s seed-to-sale tracking software.
Leo Gontmakher, CEO of 4Front Ventures, said that “no one was harmed” by the company’s actions and that “once the company understood the violations,” it “worked quickly to correct them and have implemented procedures to prevent them from happening again.”
Garden Remedies was fined $200,000 for using the banned pesticide Wood’s Rooting Hormone at its Fitchburg facility and covering it by saying on invoices that it had purchased Environmental Protection Agency-approved pesticide Clonex. The falsified invoices were brought to regulators’ attention by an anonymous tipster, the report says. In a statement, Garden Remedies said the falsifying of documents was unknown to the company’s executive team and the employees involved in the scheme had been fired.
Garden Remedies CEO Dr. Karen Munkacy said the “situation was mishandled.”
“The company and I will continue to strive to ensure that ethical and regulatory violations never again occur … We want to be a model of what a well-run cannabis company can be, and I personally will not stop working to continuously improve our company. We are very sorry this happened, but we have come out of this experience a better company.” – Munkacy in a statement via the Telegram & Gazette
The Botanist was fined $250,000 for moving forward with licensing applications while trying to own or having a controlling interest in more than the allowed maximum of three stores.
Last year, Acreage came under scrutiny by regulators for allegedly flouting state rules on cannabis company ownership after reports emerged that the firm bragged to investors about holding more licenses than permitted.
The Botanist’s February 2019 applications for its Worcester and Shrewsbury retail dispensaries showed that Acreage had “consulting services and capital funds” contracts with two other provisional license holders. Acreage denied having any direct or indirect control over those businesses, but regulators raised concerns about those contracts and asked the Botanist whether it wanted to proceed or resubmit the application, the report says.