MedMen lawsuit claims NY gov’s office improperly pushed for cannabis sale

MedMen Enterprises alleges in a lawsuit that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration tried to force the marijuana multistate operator out of the state’s market.

According to the New York Post, Los Angeles-based MedMen claims in a suit filed Monday in state Supreme Court that the governor’s staff improperly tried to help Ascend Wellness Holdings finalize an acquisition of MedMen’s New York operation by leaning on regulators to approve the deal.

A spokesperson for Hochul’s office told the Post that the “allegations are full of falsehoods.” The New York Office of Cannabis Management said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

New York-based Ascend sued MedMen for terminating the $63 million deal in early January.

Central to the MedMen lawsuit are a Hochul reelection fundraiser in December attended by an Ascend executive and an alleged meeting two days later between Hochul staffers and Ascend executives.

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“The meeting between Ascend CEO (Abner) Kurtin and senior state executive officials” and the (state’s) approval of the transaction shortly afterward “together raise a clear inference of improper influence by Ascend on the state approval process,” MedMen alleges in the suit, according to the Post.

In a statement to the newspaper, a Hochul spokesperson denied that the meeting took place.