Multi-State MMJ Operators Embroiled in Lawsuits, Legal Disputes

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Entrepreneurs seeking cannabis licenses in multiple states have a new concern: legal issues from one market affecting applications in others.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Nicholas Vita and Michael Abbott, partners whose companies have been awarded MMJ business licenses in Nevada, Massachusetts, Arizona and Washington DC, have been embroiled in at least three separate legal cases.

Those legal problems have given at least one Chicago alderman pause as he tries to evaluate whether or not to support any MMJ dispensaries opening in his neighborhood, including Vita’s and Abbott’s application to open a dispensary on the northwest side of the Windy City.

The situation serves as a reminder to license applicants that in the rush to secure permission to operate cannabis businesses, the consequences of cutting corners in one state can have impacts well into the future.

Vita’s and Abbott’s companies have been involved in legal disputes surrounding their marijuana businesses in Massachusetts, Arizona and Washington DC. The ongoing Massachusetts case rests in part on the failure to disclose during the licensing process a prior Texas-based lawsuit in which Vita was accused of fraud and related misdeeds.

Chicago Alderman John Arena said he became concerned when he started researching the duo’s Illinois dispensary application, and came across news reports about the lawsuits. But, he told The Sun-Times, he decided to trust in the vetting given to Patriot Care, the pair’s Massachusetts company, which received three dispensary licenses.