Lawsuit: Ex-OR official bilked investors in marijuana business

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

In what is shaping up to be a cautionary tale for would-be cannabis industry investors, a former county commissioner from Oregon is being sued for allegedly scamming financial backers out of more than $200,000 to ostensibly fund a marijuana business.

Former Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal is the target of the suit, which seeks $529,000 in damages, the Mail Tribune reported.

According to the suit, Breidenthal bilked three people out of a total of $229,000, which he told them was to finance a cannabis retail shop in Medford, Oregon, called American Cannabis Co.

But the store still hasn’t opened, and Breidenthal, who left office last year after losing a party primary, is being investigated for possible criminal wrongdoing by the state over campaign finance allegations.

“I thought he was such a nice man,” said Mary Nelson, 84, an Arizona resident who is part of the suit. Nelson and her husband gave Breidenthal $150,000 and are suing to recoup their investment.

Legal disputes between business partners have become increasingly frequent in the marijuana industry, as the trade grows and more people try to get involved.