Verano prevails in interstate marijuana trafficking lawsuit

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Illinois-based multistate operator Verano Holdings said it won a lawsuit in which it was accused of transporting marijuana from its home state to Arkansas.

The lawsuit, filed in Colorado District Court, alleged illegal interstate marijuana shipments that also involved Arizona-based cannabis MSO Harvest Health & Recreation, which was attempting to acquire Verano.

That deal fell through in 2020.

The various RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) claims were brought by Nicholas Nielsen, a former employee of Natural State Wellness Enterprises in Arkansas who was arrested in January 2020 for illegally growing marijuana at his home.

Natural State was being managed by Harvest at the time.

According to a Verano news release, an arbitrator in the case dismissed all of Nielsen’s claims with prejudice and awarded Verano nearly $100,000 in attorney’s fees.

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Nielsen failed to disclose that he had pleaded guilty to a four-count felony indictment in Arkansas over an illegal marijuana cultivation and production operation he ran out of his home, the release notes.

“Verano and its affiliates are proud of their strict compliance with, and adherence to, state laws and regulations, and any insinuation to the contrary is completely fictional,” George Archos, Verano’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.