The manager of one of the state’s licensed medical cannabis producers said he reported to the Albuquerque Police Department in April that an employee had stolen at least 18 pounds marijuana, but the man has not been arrested and product with an estimated value of at least $57,000 still hasn’t been recovered.
“Police did nothing, they took no action,” said William Ford, managing director of R. Greenleaf Organics Inc., a medical cannabis producer with five dispensaries in Albuquerque and one in Grants.
The accused former employee has not been charged with a crime but has been named in a civil lawsuit as Jordan C. Wallace.
The lawsuit says Wallace admitted taking the marijuana after he was confronted with a video recording allegedly showing the theft.
Wallace could not be reached for comment Thursday.
In complaining about police inaction in the case, Ford said Thursday, “I would have thought the city of Albuquerque would be more concerned about public safety. To have this happen and for them not to respond, I find that unfortunate. … I would imagine there would at least be some contact to let us know what is happening and that the perpetrator would have been arrested.”
In response to an inquiry from The New Mexican, Albuquerque police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said in an email: “We appreciate The New Mexican bringing this concern to our attention. We are reviewing this case and will get to the bottom of it. Currently, we have forwarded this report to APD’s Organized Crime Unit, and they will investigate the case and work diligently to pursue any possible criminal charges.”
According to an April 11 police report, Ford said that Wallace on April 4 used an employee ID and a manager’s security code to gain access to a vault used by his company at a facility where marijuana is refined into edibles and other products.
The next morning, the police report says, a manager noticed things out of place and reviewed security camera footage, which allegedly showed Wallace leaving with the marijuana. A subsequent inventory revealed a shortage of 18 pounds of medical cannabis.
“[Wallace] was then confronted regarding the theft,” the report says. “[Wallace] admitted he had stolen the marijuana and said it was a big mistake.”
Ford told police he told Wallace to return the product or he would call police, and he said that Wallace returned with three bags of marijuana that was not the same as the marijuana that had been taken.
Ford also told police he believes Wallace may have been working with five other employees of the business.
Wallace said there is no requirement that he report the theft to the New Mexico Department of Health, which oversees the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, but that he did so.
Ford said he is not only interested in recovering the valuable product and seeing justice done but is concerned about public safety.
“If this material is sold, it’s sold to people who aren’t patients,” he said, and could be distributed in an unregulated fashion to youth or others who should not have access to it. “Any distribution would be a breach of law,” he added.
The company sued Wallace in state District Court in Albuquerque in June. The lawsuit makes most of the same claims contained in the police report, saying Wallace was caught on video taking the cannabis and that he admitted the theft, but “instead of returning the product, gave Plaintiff a smaller amount of different product of lower quality and value.”
Because the state Department of Health “carefully tracks each cannabis plant from cultivation to sale,” the complaint says, “the different product … cannot be legally sold or used in manufacturing of cannabis products.”
Contact Phaedra Haywood at 505-986-3068 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @phaedraann.