PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A top marijuana cultivator cannot continue to sell its products amid accusations it failed to disclose an owner and had a significant amount of unregistered cannabis, a R.I. Superior Court judge has ruled.
Judge Brian Stern last week rejected a request for mandatory relief filed by STJ LLC, known better as Fire Ganja, which is in the process of getting its license revoked.
The R.I. Office of Cannabis Regulation earlier this year ordered the marijuana-growing company — a major player in the industry since recreational cannabis became legal last December — to stop selling its products to retailers. Fire Ganja estimates the loss of sales is costing it $8,200 per day, according to court records.
The order came after regulators said they discovered the Warwick business had 1,473 untagged plants, 1,507 ounces of untagged flower, 2,038 ounces of untagged hash and 276 ounces of untagged concentrate, according to documents Target 12 obtained through a public records request.
Regulators also alleged company executives shifted an ownership stake to another business, San Miguel LLC, and failed to disclose the change to the state in violation of cannabis regulations.
Fire Ganja “has failed to show it is entitled to mandatory injunctive relief,” Stern wrote in his order, underscoring that his ruling had no effect on the regulatory action currently underway.
The ruling was first reported by Providence Business News.
Fire Ganja attorneys, who have disputed the state’s allegations, argued the company’s inability to sell products has interfered with its contractual obligations and resulted in irreparable harm. But Stern rejected the arguments, ruling in part the state followed state regulations when it decided to inspect the company, and its “decision to quarantine the plants as it conducted its investigation was consistent” with its authority.
As to the argument that Fire Ganja has suffered irreparable harm, Stern ruled the company has its opportunity to dispute the allegations against it through the regulatory review currently underway. And once that administrative process is completed, Stern said the company “may bring action for relief” back to the courts.
Fire Ganja “has failed to show that it would suffer irreparable harm if the relief sought is denied,” Stern wrote in his order.
Fire Ganja appeared last week for a pre-conference hearing at the Office of Cannabis Regulation, as regulators are seeking to revoke its cultivator license. Regulators ordered the show-cause hearing after behind-the-scenes negotiations broke down in August.
The state initially proposed Fire Ganja pay a nearly $3 million administrative penalty for violating multiple cannabis regulations, according to court documents. Fire Ganja countered with $35,000, ultimately resulting in the end of negotiations, according to court documents.
The next regulatory hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Nov. 30, according to a spokesperson.
Fire Ganja owner Nicholas Savadore did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.