Regulators in New Mexico revoked the licenses of two marijuana growing operations and levied one million dollar fines against each business for numerous violations, including exceeding the state’s plant count limits, of not tracking and tracing its inventory, and for creating unsafe conditions.The state ordered both to immediately stop all commercial cannabis activity, the AP reports. “The illicit activity conducted at both of these farms undermines the good work that many cannabis businesses are doing across the state,” Clay Bailey, acting superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, said in a statement. “The excessive amount of illegal cannabis plants and other serious violations demonstrates a blatant disregard for public health and safety, and for the law.”
A man connected to one of the businesses, Native American Agricultural Development Co, has faced scrutiny from authorities before. Navajo businessman Dineh Benally had cannabis farming operations in northwestern New Mexico raided by federal authorities in 2020. The Navajo Department of Justice also sued Benally, leading to a court order halting those operations. In addition, a group of Chinese immigrant workers sued Benally and his associates — and claimed they were lured to northern New Mexico and forced to work long hours illegally trimming marijuana on the Navajo Nation, where growing the plant is illegal. The other business, also located east of Albuquerque was Bliss Farm. State officials said the two are not connected in any way, but cited Bliss Farm for 17 violations, saying evidence of a recent harvest without records entered into the state’s track and trace system and led the division to conclude that plants were transferred or sold illicitly.