Cannabis Control Division: Notice of Contemplated Action

May 05, 2024By Johnn Osborn
Johnn Osborn

In the evolving landscape of cannabis regulation in New Mexico, the Notice of Contemplated Action (NCA) has emerged as a critical tool for the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) to enforce compliance and ensure the safety and legality of cannabis operations. This notice serves as a formal announcement by the CCD that it is considering taking disciplinary action against a licensee. Understanding the consequences of such a notice and the appeals process is essential for any professional operating within the state's regulatory framework.

Definition and Purpose.

A Notice of Contemplated Action is issued when the Regulation and Licensing Division has gathered sufficient evidence that, if unchallenged, would justify disciplinary measures against a licensee. This could include actions such as suspension, revocation of a license, or other penalties depending on the severity of the violation.

A Notice of Contemplated Action is a formal document to cannabis businesses that are suspected of violating state cannabis regulations issued by the Cannabis Control Division of New Mexico.  The issuance of an NCA marks the beginning of a formal prosecution process against a business, signaling that the CCD has identified potential non-compliance issues that warrant further investigation and possible disciplinary action.

The notice details the specific allegations and the evidence supporting these claims. It also informs the licensee of their right to respond to the allegations and to request a hearing. If the licensee does not respond within the stipulated time frame, the action contemplated in the notice becomes final and is not subject to judicial review.

Process and Timeline.

The process of a Notice of Contemplated Action begins with the identification of potential violations by the CCD's compliance officers during inspections or investigations. These violations can range from exceeding plant count limits, failing to use the state’s mandatory track and trace system, to operating under unsanitary conditions. 

Once a violation is identified, the CCD issues an NCA to the business, outlining the specific allegations and the evidence supporting these claims. The business then has the opportunity to request a hearing on the matter - which must be requested within twenty (20) days of receiving the NCA - where they can present their case, including any evidence or arguments that may refute the allegations or demonstrate compliance. 

The timeline for this process can vary, but it typically involves a set period for the business to respond to the NCA and request a hearing. Following the hearing, the Administrative Hearing Officer will make a determination based on the evidence presented, which could result in penalties such as fines, license revocation, or other disciplinary actions.

Consequences and Defenses of a Notice of Contemplated Action.

The consequences of a Notice of Contemplated Action can be severe, including mandatory cessation of operations, steep fines, license revocation, and even formal criminal charges against individual business owners. For instance, Bliss Farm and Native American Agricultural Development Company faced license revocation and were each fined $1 million for violations such as exceeding plant count limits and not utilizing the state’s mandatory track and trace system.

However, businesses have the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations in an NCA. This can involve demonstrating compliance with state regulations, correcting identified violations, or presenting mitigating factors that may reduce the severity of the penalties. The CCD's decision can be influenced by the business's efforts to remedy the violations and their overall compliance history.

It's crucial for licensees to understand that the initial notice is not the final decision. It serves as a formal warning, providing an opportunity to address the issues raised by the regulatory body.

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The Appeals Process.

The appeals process is a critical aspect of the regulatory framework, offering a fair chance for licensees to contest the actions contemplated against them. Upon receiving a Notice of Contemplated Action, the licensee has a limited period (typically around 20 days) to submit a request for a hearing.

If a hearing is requested, it must be scheduled no less than 15 days and no more than 60 days from the date of the notice. During the hearing, the licensee can present evidence and arguments against the proposed disciplinary action. The hearing is conducted by a board or a designated hearing officer, who will assess the evidence presented by both the licensee and the regulatory agency.

After the hearing, if the decision is still unfavorable, the licensee may have further recourse through an appeal to the District Court.


The Notice of Contemplated Action is a vital component of New Mexico's regulatory framework for the cannabis industry, ensuring that businesses operate within the bounds of the law to protect public health and safety. Understanding the NCA process, potential consequences, and available defenses is crucial for cannabis businesses to navigate the regulatory landscape effectively and maintain their operations in compliance with state laws.

For professionals licensed in New Mexico, understanding the implications of a Notice of Contemplated Action and the available avenues for appeal is crucial. It ensures that they can adequately prepare and respond if they ever face such a situation. The key is to engage promptly and effectively with the process, seeking legal advice if necessary, to protect one's professional interests and career.


Advertising Disclaimer: This communication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. If you need legal assistance, please consult with an attorney.