Oregon MJ Company CEO Focus of Sexual Harassment Suit

What’s the right revenue per square foot? What’s a realistic business outlook for cultivators? Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks. Get the 2023 Factbook.

A co-founder and former employee of one of Oregon’s largest wholesale cannabis distribution firms has filed a lawsuit against the company’s CEO, alleging the executive “groped and smelled her” and that complaining about the harassment led to her dismissal.

Whitney Hobbs, a co-founder of Highly Distributed, filed the suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Monday, the Willamette Week reported. Hobbs alleges that CEO Christopher Malott tried to push her into a sexual relationship, and that for months she endured “physical and sexual advances, back rubbing, groping, smelling, and staring,” the paper reported.

Although Highly Distributed declined to comment on the lawsuit, at least one former employee of the company disputed Hobbs’ claims to Willamette Week, saying Hobbs created a hostile work environment and that that was the reason she was ultimately asked to resign by the other company co-founder, Jamin Giersbach.

Lawsuits and infighting among company founders have become more common in the cannabis trade as the industry has matured and come into its own.