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MSO Curio Wellness Claims Some NJ Medical Cannabis License Winners Not Owned by Women

Maryland-based cannabis corporation Multi-State Operator (MSO) Curio Wellness launched a lawsuit claiming that women do not own some of the 2019-201 New Jersey medical cannabis license winners.

Curio Wellness was denied a vertically integrated license for growing, manufacturing, cultivation, retail, distribution, delivery, and wholesale in that 29-month round.

According to Green Market Report, Curio Wellness claims Holistic NJ LLC, Altus New Jersey, which renamed itself Aunt Mary’s, AP NJ Health, and CHM Consulting are not owned by women. Thus, their certifications were false. So, they are suing the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC).

New Jersey medical cannabis companies were prioritized in the license race if they were owned by women.

Some female New Jersey cannabis license applicants believe this to be a great problem. A lot of women-owned companies have men leading the pitch.

Curio Wellness Allegations

The NJ-CRC has been adamant that Curio Wellness is wrong and has denied them a license several times.

Curio Wellness’s lawyers say Holistic NJ is an arm of Holistic Industries. The team noted a press release and interviews with Josh Genderson. He said they had a New Jersey medical cannabis license application pending at the time. They say Holistic NJ’s listed owners don’t have the experience to run a cannabis company.

Holistic Industries is also an MSO operating dispensaries in five states.

Holistic NJ’s official owners are Morgan Greenhouse Genderson, wife of Holistic Industries CEO Josh Genderson, Genderson’s stepmother, Staci Walkes, and Amy Singer. She is the wife of Justin Singer, a founder of Feuerstein Kulick, a noted cannabis law firm.

NJ Cannabis Lawsuit on Women Ownership

“Ms. Singer, Ms. Walkes, and Ms. Greenhouse Genderson possess a combination of talent and skill that make them unquestionably well-qualified to run Holistic,” their defense team argued. “The resumes of Ms. Singer, Ms. Walkes, and Ms. Greenhouse Genderson include two Ivy League degrees, an executive of a multi-billion dollar company, a trained attorney experienced in labor law and HR management, and two managers and owners of thriving cannabis businesses in Pennsylvania.”

Curio Wellness hired the politically connected attorney Paul Josephson of the Duane Morris law firm to press their case.

Holistic Industries is represented by former New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino who served under former Governor Chris Christie (R).

“Anybody who knows this industry, any regulator who’s been around on the East Coast, certainly knows who Holistic is,” Josephson said in an interview with Law.com. “When you see a Multi-State Operator creating a New Jersey entity, ostensibly owned by people other than the corporation, you’ve got to say, ‘What’s going on here?’”

They endorsed anti-legacy operator campaign rhetoric.

Holistic Solutions in South Jersey is different than Holistic NJ and Holistic Industries.

The issue has been in the courts for some time now.

Altus Aunty Mary’s Funny Business

Curio Wellness also wants to knock down Altus or Aunt Mary’s.

They said that Katherine Bio, their official 51 percent owner, is a puppet figure.

The issue of female ownership of cannabis companies has grown in recent years. White men run the vast majority of MSOs. As they have bought up smaller companies, the number of women-owned companies in the space has decreased.

Curio Wellness is reaping the benefits of Maryland opening its adult use cannabis market. They seem to enjoy using lawsuits as a strategy to advance their interests. They sued in 2019 to stop other companies from securing Maryland medical cannabis growing licenses. Curio Wellness probably thought they would cut into their market share.

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