CCC restores licenses for pot grower with site in Sheffield

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SHEFFIELD — A marijuana grower/manufacturer with facilities in Sheffield and Attleboro is back in the good graces of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.

The CCC has lifted its order of suspension of the six licenses belonging to Nova Farms, according to the Attleboro-based company. Nova officials, in a statement issued Thursday, said the Sept. 9 freeze on its licenses was removed "upon substantial evidence that Nova Farms no longer presents a threat to the commonwealth," according to the CCC.

The agency halted all medical and adult-use marijuana activity at Nova Farms and ordered a quarantine of its marijuana after it became aware of a criminal drug charge that was pending against Mark Rioux, who had ownership or controlling interests in six state licenses.

Rioux, a commercial real estate agent, was accused of scouting out a warehouse site where another man could run an illicit grow facility. Rioux had denied the charge of conspiracy to violate the narcotics laws to traffic marijuana before it was dismissed in Attleboro District Court in late September.

Nova officials say Rioux no longer is part of the business.

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On Oct. 4, the CCC amended the suspension as it continued its investigation, allowing the company to feed and irrigate its 3,200 plants at its 90-acre outdoor cultivation area on Kellogg Road in Sheffield. Nova also was allowed to undertake preexisting pest-management and preventive maintenance programs, and harvest, according to a CCC spokeswoman.

Nova officials understand the reason for the investigation and suspension.

"The Mass CCC was vigilant, surgical and extensively thorough during the course of their investigations into Nova Farms," Chief Operating Officer Blair Fish said in the company statement. "Their job is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Commonwealth and they did just that,"

Despite Nova Farms halting work for several weeks, CEO Derek Ross said it kept paying its diverse workforce of 48 employees.

The cannabis plants being harvested in Sheffield will be processed and manufactured at the facility in Attleboro, where the company also plans to open a dispensary in the near future. Another dispensary, in Framingham, is planned to open in 2020, with the company also eyeing a marijuana shop somewhere in South Berkshire, company officials have said.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at and 413-496-6233.


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