A New Mexico court has ruled in favor of a coalition of licensed medical cannabis producers and one medical cannabis patient authorized to grow at home, essentially overturning the state’s safety and labeling protocols adopted by the Department of Health (DOH) last year, according to the NM Political Report.
The group first sued the state on the grounds the new rules requiring heavy metal and pesticide testing were “arbitrary and capricious” and would result in high prices for patients. First Judicial District Court Judge Bryan Biedscheid did not rule on the “merits” of the new rules, only that the state did not follow proper procedures when adopting the changes. Namely, that the rules lacked “substantial evidence” and the DOH did not consult the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board when developing the program.
Although the original lawsuit did not ask for all the rules to be invalidated, the court took that extra step and invalidated the entire new batch of regulations.
“The Court hopes that its additional findings and conclusions provide some guidance to the Department on remand and avoid additional remands due to lack of substantial evidence,” Judge Biedscheid wrote.
Additionally, the ruling overturns producers’ ability to increase their plant count under certain circumstances and throws out a consumption area provision that, according to the report, no medical cannabis producer in the state had yet taken advantage of.
The Department of Health already had testing and labeling requirements in place prior to the new regulations, so the New Mexico cannabis industry will return to its previous testing and labeling standards. are still testing and labeling standards in New Mexico. However, it is unclear if the legislature or DOH will take the issue up again; the DOH said it was “aware” of the judge’s ruling and is currently “evaluating options.” The legislature, meanwhile, may be too busy looking forward to adult-use cannabis regulations in the state.
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