Cannabis retailer Schwazze settles $525,000 budtender wage-theft claim

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A Denver-based cannabis multistate operator has settled a lawsuit in New Mexico with budtenders who claimed wage theft and is facing a similar case in its home state of Colorado.

Medicine Man Technologies, which operates as Schwazze, agreed to pay $525,000 to Justin Fowler, a budtender at its G. Greenleaf dispensary in Albuquerque, and 19 other budtenders in New Mexico and Colorado, according to Green Market Report.

Law360 first reported the developments.

Fowler’s original lawsuit, filed in August 2023, alleged:

  • Schwazze violated federal and state laws by allowing managers to unevenly pool and split budtender tips.
  • The company used some of those funds for all-staff meals.
  • The retailer redirected tips from budtenders to managers.

A similar lawsuit was filed in Colorado by former Schwazze budtender and shift leader John Frost, according to Green Market Report.

That case is pending.

According to its website, Schwazze operates 63 retail outlets, six cultivation sites and four manufacturing facilities.

The company trades as SHWZ on the Cboe Canada exchange and over-the-counter markets.