Marijuana tech firm Dutchie sues software firm Akerna in Pennsylvania

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.


Marijuana e-commerce platform Dutchie is suing cannabis technology software firm Akerna Corp. over what it claims is a violation of Pennsylvania law.

Dutchie’s lawsuit says Pennsylvania law requires open integration with any partner, including point-of-sales systems, and alleges that Akerna is unfairly refusing to open its state traceability system to allow integration with cannabis retailers’ technology partners of choice.

Akerna, an offshoot of the MJ Freeway-MTech merger, provides seed-to-sale tracking to Pennsylvania marijuana companies through its Leaf Data Systems software.

“We have heard from numerous customers and retailers from across the state that they had no choice but to use Akerna’s point of sale system despite the better options available,” John Kelleher, general counsel for Bend, Oregon-based Dutchie, said in a statement.

“Retailers should have the freedom to choose the technology partners that best help them succeed and ensure patients have safe and easy access to their medication.”

Jessica Billingsley, CEO of Denver-based Akerna, told MJBizDaily via email that “we are disappointed that Dutchie feels the need to pursue this baseless claim in court.

“Dutchie is currently an approved integration partner with the Commonwealth’s cannabis traceability system and will remain one through the length of our recently renewed contract.”

Billingsley said Akerna has been communicating with Dutchie and Pennsylvania regulators.

“In these conversations, it has been made clear to Dutchie that Leaf Data Systems is contractually unable to unilaterally make changes to its product, as changes can only be made through written change requests from the Department of Health,” she wrote.

“No such change request has been submitted.”

Dutchie, meanwhile, is the defendant in a lawsuit recently filed by its co-founders.