$100 million award restored in Colorado marijuana retail chain dispute

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In what’s believed to be one of the largest judgments in a cannabis industry dispute, a Colorado appeals court has restored an $100 million award in a long-running dispute involving one of the state’s biggest chains of marijuana stores.

An arbitrator had awarded $140 million in 2022 to Josh Ginsberg and Rhett Jordan, two co-founders of retail chain Native Roots Cannabis.

The cash was meant to settle a dispute triggered in 2017 when a third owner, Peter Knobel, and his company, Brightstar, attempted to sell Native Roots.

But two months after the arbitrator’s ruling, a Denver judge canceled the award because of a “legal error” with the decision and evidence of bias.

So, the plaintiffs appealed.

The upshot is that Ginsberg and Jordan are still due $100 million plus interest, a spokesperson for the plaintiffs told MJBizDaily.

Knobel still owns 70% of Native Roots, which has 22 locations in Colorado.

Marijuana sales in Colorado have diminished steadily since an early 2020 peak, sinking to a seven-year low last fall.

The $1.53 billion in annual sales in 2023 was the lowest since $1.54 billion in 2018.