Future of Ascend marijuana firm’s CEO in question after arrest on battery charge

The tenure of Ascend Wellness Holdings CEO Abner Kurtin has been thrown into question after the chief executive of the multistate marijuana operator was arrested in Florida and charged with battery against his domestic partner.

New York-based Ascend acknowledged in a statement that “it is aware of the allegations” against Kurtin “regarding a domestic-related misdemeanor” last weekend.

The company said that independent members of its board “are conducting an investigation of the matter with the assistance of independent legal counsel, Goodwin Procter,” a global law firm.

Ascend added that “it is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness and will continue to evaluate appropriate steps as more information becomes available.”

Court records show Kurtin, who also is an Ascend founder, was charged with battery, a misdemeanor, and released after a $1,500 bond was paid.

A court hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 30.

Kurtin and a lawyer representing him could not immediately be reached for comment.

The story was first reported by The Deep Dive.

According to the arrest affidavit, a witness walking near a Shell gas station in Miami Beach observed a vehicle exiting and then “a physical altercation ensue inside the vehicle” involving a man and a woman.

The man was later identified as Kurtin, 55.

The court affidavit noted that Kurtin and the woman have been in a relationship for about two years and live together.

The witness said she saw Kurtin “striking” the woman “and then grabbing her head and striking it against the dashboard of the vehicle.”

According to the arrest affidavit, officers later spoke with the woman, who said she had been involved in a “verbal altercation” with Kurtin “but that she was fine and nothing else happened.”

The officers noted “a small bump to (the woman’s) left side of her forehead” – she said it was a pimple, according to the arrest affidavit – as well as another “small bump to the upper left eye.”

The officers later spoke with Kurtin, who, according to the arrest affidavit, said the couple had been having a verbal altercation “but denied ever getting physical with her.”

Kurtin was then arrested at an address that coincides with The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach.

At the holding facility, Kurtin complained he was having “really bad chest pain to the point that it was flowing down his leg,” according to the arrest affidavit.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue attended to the scene, and he was later transported to Mount Sinai for medical evaluation. He was then taken to a correctional center.

Ascend Wellness trades as AAWH.U on the Canadian Securities Exchange and as AAWH on over-the-counter markets.

On Thursday, the company’s shares were down by 2.69% on the CSE and by 3.12% on the OTC.

In its statement, Ascend said that “the independent members of the Board are keenly attuned to the Company, its shareholders, and employees, and the management team is focused on ensuring AWH continues to operate effectively during this time.”

The company provided no further comment.