Three marijuana dispensaries have agreed to pay $800,000 in fines for violations involving pesticides and misrepresentations in Cannabis Control Commission documents. Says the Boston Business Jnl
and the Boston Globe is running the headline
MassLive has the details
Both Garden Remedies and Healthy Pharms have been fined for the use of pesticides.
Garden Remedies use pesticides and falsified three documents to conceal the use of pesticides, said attorney Rebecca Lopez of the commission’s enforcement staff.
Pesticides were found at Garden Remedies’ cultivation and adult-use product manufacturing facility in Fitchburg during a January 2019 inspection. Then, on April 20, 2019, an anonymous employee called the commission to report fraudulent records.
Garden Remedies has agreed to remedies including a fine of $200,000, cease and desist the use of pesticides not labeled for use in cannabis cultivation and submit to a two-year probationary period, agreeing to report any test results detecting pesticides at a level other than “non-detect” to the commission within 24 hours.
The case against Healthy Pharms began with a 2019 investigation in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Lopez said. The investigation was in response to a report from Healthy Pharms that samples of its plants had tested positive for pesticides.
MDAR did find unlawful use of pesticides and ordered that Healthy Pharms destroy all marijuana from rooms and equipment involved with the pesticides, as well as to have those rooms cleaned, and other measures. In March, the commission and MDAR witnessed the destruction of the marijuana. Those rooms were then tested and no pesticides were detected, Lopez said.
Additionally, Healthy Pharms performed noncompliant applications of hydrogen peroxide as a pesticide at least 10 times, according to commission documents.
Another violation by Healthy Pharms involved Metrc, the commission seed-to-sale system, in November. Healthy Pharms entered about 50 samples of marijuana flower or trim into Metrc under a strain of cannabis that was not being cultivated at the time, according to the commission.
Healthy Pharms has agreed to remedies including a fine of $350,000, cease and desist the use of pesticides not labeled for use in cannabis cultivation, employ a Harvest Compliance Manager with proficiency in the seed-to-sale system and submit to a two-year probationary period, agreeing to report any test results detecting pesticides at a level other than “non-detect” to the commission within 24 hours.
The Botanist, which is owned by conglomerate Acreage Holdings, Inc., has been fined regarding issues of ownership and control. An investigation found that after new regulations regarding the meaning of “direct or indirect control” went into effect on Nov. 1, The Botanist should have known that contractual arrangements between Acreage and Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, HCI and Mass Medi-Spa would have constituted a controlling interest and required disclosure.
State law only allows for a marijuana company to own or control three stores. Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, HCI, and Mass Medi-Spa each has one provisional Medical Marijuana Treatment Center license. The Botanist has applications for retail locations in Worcester and Shrewsbury.
On Feb. 11, 2019, The Botanist, through its parent company, stated on its retail applications that it “does not own or have direct or indirect control over the operations of ”Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, HCI, and Mass Medi-Spa. But, in January, the Botanist asked the Commission to consider its application without changing its contractual disclosure dated Feb. 11, 2019.
“In view of the changes made by the November 1, 2019 regulations, the Commission could reasonably find that Respondent’s parent company should have known that it exercised direct or indirect control of five licensed MTC entities before it terminated the Affiliate agreements: one finally-licensed The Botanist entity, two provisionally-licensed The Botanist entities, and two provisionally-licensed affiliate entities,” Cannabis Control Commission documents read.
Contractual agreements with Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard and HCI were terminated or restructured after the commission tabled The Botanist’s retail applications in February.
The Botanist has agreed to remedies including a fine of $250,000.
As the commission discussed the violations, Cannabis Control Commission Chair Steven Hoffman noted that the focus of the commission’s enforcement is to get licensees back into compliance with regulations and ensure compliance going forward.