Legalization

New Mexico cannabis rules not backed by evidence, judge says

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A New Mexico district judge ruled directives written by the state Department of Health for oversight of a medical cannabis program were not supported by evidence and must be rewritten.

District Judge Bryan Biedscheid issued an order Friday repealing the regulations and ordering changes, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Certain rules, including those regarding testing requirements for medical cannabis, “were not supported by substantial evidence,” the order said.

The department did not appear to have followed statute by consulting with the state Medical Cannabis Advisory Board before issuing the rules, the order said.

The order was in response to a July complaint by New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health, the state’s largest medical cannabis producer. The company claimed the department had provided “no rational connection” between facts and its rule-making process.

Ultra Health Chief Executive Officer Duke Rodriguez has sued the department multiple times to contest sanctions, gross receipts tax applicability and the definition of adequate supply.

Biedscheid wrote that he hoped his order would provide guidance for the health department to prevent the issue from returning to the court.

The department of health said in an email that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.