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Cannabis Firms Hire Microsoft Antitrust Lawyer to Challenge Federal Pot Ban

 |  October 29, 2023

A coalition of cannabis companies has taken legal action by enlisting the services of the law firm Boies Schiller Flexnor to file a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The suit, which was initiated in U.S. federal court in Massachusetts, aims to challenge the federal prohibition of cannabis, citing the detrimental impact it has on state-legal cannabis commerce.

The group behind the legal challenge comprises several notable entities, including Verano, Canna Provisions, Wiseacre Farm, and Gyasi Sellers, who serves as the chief executive of Treevit. These companies and individuals are acting as plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.

Notably, Ascend Wellness, TerrAscend, Green Thumb Industries, Eminence Capital, and Poseidon Investment Management are among the foundational supporters of this legal endeavor.

The central argument put forth by the plaintiffs is that the federal criminalization of cannabis, despite being legal in 38 states, is both unconstitutional and unjust, particularly for small businesses in the industry. They contend that cannabis enterprises are unfairly obstructed from securing loans and investments, which hampers their ability to establish conventional banking relationships. Additionally, they face discriminatory tax policies.

Read more: Merger Creates Biggest Cannabis Company In The World

Boies Schiller Flexnor, the law firm spearheading this legal challenge, has a track record of winning high-profile cases, including an antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on behalf of the U.S. government and the successful effort to overturn California’s same-sex marriage ban.

While the outcome of the lawsuit remains uncertain, Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett pointed out that the legal landscape surrounding cannabis has significantly evolved since a similar case failed in 2005. At that time, far fewer states permitted medical cannabis, and none allowed adult recreational use. Bennett noted that the circumstances have changed, with even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in 2021, expressing concerns that national cannabis prohibition might be unconstitutional.

The lawsuit contends that numerous cannabis businesses are suffering as a result of federal prohibition, leading to job losses and the destruction of individual wealth. The legal battle is expected to unfold as the cannabis industry continues to grapple with the complexities of state and federal regulations.

Source: Morning Star