Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

October 30, 2023

Mass. cannabis business coalition, including Athol firm, sue federal government

Photo | WBJ File Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2016.

A coalition of cannabis businesses operating in Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit in federal court, hoping to convince the courts the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional when it is applied to state-legal cannabis businesses.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, lists four companies operating in Massachusetts as plaintiffs: Gyasi Sellers, which operates Treevit cannabis delivery company based in Athol; Wiseacre Farms, a cannabis cultivation company in Housatonic; Canna Provisions, a cannabis retailer and grower with multiple locations in Western Mass.; and Verano Holdings, a large Chicago-based cannabis company that operates dispensaries in Massachusetts under the Zen Leaf retail brand.

The lawsuit argues the federal government’s ban on intrastate marijuana shipments undermines the success of state-legal cannabis regulations and businesses and threatens public safety. It argues the Controlled Substances Act prevents businesses from serving low-income communities because of its ban on marijuana possession in federal housing, and that federal law results in punitive taxation that harms cannabis businesses.

The plaintiffs in this case are being represented by New York City law firm Boies Schiller Flexner and Northampton law firm Lesser, Newman, Aleo & Nasser. 

Boies Schiller Flexner is led by David Boies, a high-profile attorney best known for defending Microsoft in a 2001 antitrust lawsuit and for representing Al Gore in a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case regarding disputed election results in Florida.

The defendant in the marijuana lawsuit is Merrick Garland, in his capacity as attorney general of the United States. 

"We want to be treated equally, on an even playing field with any other small business in Massachusetts," Meg Sanders, CEO and co-founder of Canna Provisions, said in a statement released by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

The statement said the lawsuit is being backed by a number of foundational supporters making up some of the larger cannabis companies in North America, including Ascend Wellness Holdings in New York City, TerrAscend in Canada, and Green Thumb Industries in Chicago. 

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF