New Mexico revokes license of local marijuana retailer for selling cannabis from California

Jul 13, 2023, 6:21 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has revoked the license of a marijuana retailer in Albuquerque for selling out-of-state cannabis in violation of state law, the state cannabis control division announced Thursday.

Regulators allege that the Paradise Exotics Distro cannabis store on a central shopping thoroughfare sold cannabis products imported from California and marked with a California stamp of origin. Representatives for the business could not immediately be reached by phone or social media.

New Mexico is among at least 21 states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults, while a federal marijuana ban still precludes interstate cannabis trade or trafficking.

Amid a persistent glut of cannabis on the West Coast, the states of Oregon, California and Washington have adopted so-called trigger bills that would authorize interstate cannabis trade agreements should the U.S. government someday allow it.

New Mexico prohibits the local sale of out-of-state cannabis products, with a variety of concerns among state lawmakers ranging from product safety to local economic development. Thursday marked the first time that regulators in New Mexico have revoked a cannabis business license since the start of legal recreational marijuana sales on April 1, 2022.

Regulators say Paradise Exotics Distro also failed to properly document shipping manifests and inaccurately reported sales data to a state system that tracks marijuana production from seedlings to sales.

“This revocation should serve as a warning to those selling or receiving out-of-state cannabis products,” said Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo in a statement. “Our compliance officers are ramping up inspections and we will work to remove bad actors from within the New Mexico cannabis industry.”

Duke Rodriguez, CEO of Ultra Health, the largest cannabis operator in New Mexico, said the license suspension suggests an imbalance in New Mexico’s cannabis market. He urged the state to ease restrictions on large-scale cannabis cultivation.

“People should ask, ‘Why is there an apparent need for product to cross state lines?’” Rodriguez said. “Usually it is because the illicit black market fills a void when the exiting state market is unable to fill the demand.”

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New Mexico revokes license of local marijuana retailer for selling cannabis from California