Marijuana Regulators Suspend Licenses From Company As One Owner Faces Drug Charge

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Massachusetts marijuana regulators have suspended six licenses from a cannabis company after one of its owners was arrested last month for his alleged involvement in an illegal marijuana-growing operation.

Nova Farms LLC, which has multiple licenses in Attleboro and Sheffield, was notified by the Cannabis Control Commission on Friday that all six of its licenses had been suspended — and all its cannabis operations halted — as regulators investigate the arrest of one of its owners, Mark Rioux.

Rioux, a real estate agent, was arrested on a warrant at the end of August and charged with conspiracy to violate drug law. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Aug. 29.

Prosecutors say Rioux helped another man find a warehouse location for a marijuana-growing operation, the commission said. An Attleboro police spokesman said Monday he could not comment on the details of the case or give any additional information about Rioux’s arrest.

A spokesman for Nova Farms did not return a request for comment.

In announcing the suspended licenses Monday, the Cannabis Control Commission called Rioux’s alleged actions “an imminent danger to public health, safety, and welfare.”

Nova Farms had a final license to operate an outside cultivation facility in Sheffield, as well as provisional licenses to operate indoor cultivation facilities in Attleboro and Sheffield, a manufacturing facility in Attleboro, a retail store in Attleboro, and a medical marijuana dispensary in Attleboro. None of the locations had received final notices to begin operating.

“The commission takes these allegations seriously and is taking immediate action to protect against the risks of diversion and criminal elements entering the legal market,” Shawn Collins, the panel’s executive director, said in a statement.

In addition to the suspensions, Nova Farms has also been told to “immediately quarantine and secure all marijuana and marijuana products at any stage of cultivation and production.” Companies leaders are also expected to post the commission’s notice of suspension “conspicuously” and cooperate with requests for inspections, documents, and interviews.

The commission said Nova Farms has surrendered Rioux’s registration cards, which allow him to operate as a “marijuana establishment agent.”