A Pennsylvania medical marijuana grower was ordered to cease harvesting or destroying its crop without state supervision after a surprise inspection found “a flagrant disregard” for regulations, “grossly mismanaged” plants, and possibility that some of those plants had been diverted to the underground market for cannabis.
AGRiMed Industries of PA, LLC, was one of the 12 original growers (and the highest scorer in a fiercely competitive process) awarded a permit in 2017 to produce cannabis for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients. Since then, AGRiMed has cultivated plants, but is yet to ship any products to state-sanctioned cannabis dispensaries. The company recently entered into a management service agreement with Arizona-based Harvest Inc to run the grow facility in Western Pennsylvania.
On June 6, a state Health Department inspector arrived unannounced at AGRiMed’s facility in Charmichaels. During the visit, the inspector asked to see the records pertaining to any marijuana grown at the facility and requested access to security videos to establish whether any harvested marijuana had been destroyed.
AGRiMed was unable to produce the required records or the mandated security footage, “because AGRiMED’s security cameras are frequently non-functional,” wrote John J. Collins, the director of the state Office of Medical Marijuana.
“Based on AGRiMED’s flagrant disregard for the requirements of the MMA [Medical Marijuana Act] .... it appears to the Office that, at the least, the marijuana plants at issue were grossly mismanaged and, at worst, that they may have been diverted in contravention of the MMA,” wrote Collins in the letter to the Joy Eggleston, the operations manager for AGRiMED’s parent company, Harvest Inc.
So far, state officials have not imposed any penalties on the grower for the lapses.
A spokesman for Harvest could not immediately be reached for comment.
Collins’ letter continued:
“Not only was AGRiMED unable to supply acceptable vital records... but the Office’s inspection and request for records clearly shows that AGRiMED has substantial issues with the security at its facility. AGRiMED’s failure to properly monitor the marijuana plants from seed through sale to a dispensary is a clear violation of the MMA, and a violation that creates and appearance of improper diversion," Collins wrote.