Attleboro Pot Shop

Bristol County Wellness Center planned to open a retail marijuana business in a currently vacant building at 34 Extension St. in Attleboro’s industrial park.

ATTLEBORO — The state Cannabis Control Commission has suspended the six licenses of a company planning to open a marijuana business in Attleboro after one of its principals was arrested by city police.

The commission issued a “summary suspension” against all medical and recreation marijuana operations planned by Nova Farms LLC, also known as Bristol County Wellness Center.

The company has been preparing to open growing, manufacturing and selling operations in Attleboro and Sheffield, Mass.

The commission said it is investigating the arrest of Mark Rioux of North Attleboro last month for allegedly being involved in an illegal marijuana growing facility on Eddy Street in Attleboro.

Rioux is listed as a principal of Nova Farms.

He pleaded not guilty and denied the charges.

“The Commission takes these allegations seriously and is taking immediate action to protect against the risks of diversion and criminal elements entering the legal market,” commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said.

“The Commonwealth has enacted strict laws and regulations to ensure our legal cannabis industry is safe and accessible,” he said. “As these allegations would undermine those objectives, the commission will continue to investigate and work alongside our counterparts in Attleboro and Sheffield to uphold public health and public safety first and foremost.”

The company is renovating a former jewelry factory on Extension Street in Attleboro.

Mayor Paul Heroux said Monday he could not comment on the case because it is a pending criminal matter. Later the mayor added that legal counsel has advised him not to take any disciplinary action against the firm.

Last week, city officials said they would not take immediate action against the business. Heroux and City Council President Mark Cooper both conferred with City Solicitor Cynthia Amara and were advised that no action is necessary “at this time.”

This is the second controversy in the fledgling pot industry in Massachusetts. Last week, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was charged by federal authorities of seeking bribes in exchange for support for marijuana licenses.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com.

You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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