Judge grants injunction against Albuquerque cannabis dispensary

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Cannabis Control Division recently doubled its number of compliance officers, and they’re making sure cannabis businesses are following all the state’s rules and regulations.

A dispensary near Old Town just learned the hard way what happens when those rules are broken. Sawmill Sweet Leaf is closed for business – at least for now.

The Cannabis Control Division filed its first-ever injunction against the business earlier this month for violating not one, but two major rules. A judge signed off on it Monday. 

Officials say the dispensary was selling cannabis products made outside of New Mexico – which is against state law.

Regulators say those products aren’t properly tested in New Mexico, and therefore, there’s no way of knowing what chemicals or other drugs they were potentially exposed to.

Sawmill Sweet Leaf was also reportedly using a closed-loop extractor even though it wasn’t licensed to do so. That piece of equipment has caused explosions in the past, and regulators say they were concerned about potential safety risks.

“We believed that also individually posed a great public risk. So taken together, you know, we really thought that we needed to, you know, take a further step than we normally do,” said Robert Sachs, a Cannabis Control Division attorney. 

State lawmakers only recently gave the Cannabis Control Division the power to file injunctions against cannabis businesses.

Officials say they’re meant to forcibly close the most concerning businesses while the division decides on a punishment – such as a fine or revoking the operator license.

Local cannabis business leaders are welcoming the increased enforcement.

“CCD is doing a good job making an example out of that operators and the more that they do that in communities across the state, the more that the ones that continue to operate will either weed themselves out, or, you know, start to toe the line in terms of following all the rules,” said Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. 

Cannabis Control Division officials say Sawmill Sweet Leaf could correct the issues and potentially reopen. But KOB 4 hasn’t been able to reach anyone with the business to find out what’s next.

Sawmill Sweet Leaf is not the only dispensary accused of selling out-of-state products. Business leaders say it’s actually a major issue in New Mexico.