Ousted co-founders sue leaders of marijuana tech company Dutchie

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.


The co-founders of marijuana e-commerce platform Dutchie, whom the company said stepped down earlier this month, are suing the current leadership, claiming they’re the victims of a conspiracy to remove them.

According to Law360, Ross and Zachary Lipson – the brothers in 2017 founded Bend, Oregon-based Courier Plus, which does business as Dutchie – filed a lawsuit Dec 7 in Delaware’s Chancery Court against Executive Chair Timothy Barash and board directors Karan Wadhera, Wilder Ramsey, Gaurav Ahuja and Thomas Linovitz.

The Lipson brothers claim in the suit that:

  • A “blatant ambush” at a Nov. 28 board meeting led to their removal from their posts and the board “for cause.”
  • The defendants changed company voting agreements so Barash could become CEO.

The complaint seeks an order from a judge declaring that the brothers’ removal was unlawful and that Ross Lipson is still CEO, Zachary Lipson is still chief product officer and they both remain board directors.

Wadhera is a managing partner at Casa Verde Capital, and Ahuja is a partner at Thrive Capital.

Barash, a former chief financial officer at Toast, a restaurant payments technology platform, became Dutchie’s executive chair after a $200 million Series C round in March 2021.

The defendants have not filed a response to the initial complaint, according to court records.

Dutchie claims to be the biggest provider of e-commerce services to cannabis stores, with more than 5,000 retail clients and $14 billion in annual sales processed.

The company was valued at $3.75 billion after a $350 million raise in a Series D round in October 2021.

Dutchie has raised $603 million in capital to date from investors such as Casa Verde, Thrive, rapper Snoop Dogg and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

The company recently laid off 67 employees, about 8% of its workforce, after what Ross Lipson called a “dramatic market shift.”