Marijuana Report: Former N.J. cannabis company employee says he was demoted because he’s black & files lawsuit

A former employee of an embattled medical marijuana company has accused the cannabis giant of demoting him because he is Black.

Shelby Brown, a former compliance officer for MPX NJ, filed a lawsuit against iAnthus last week in state Superior Court in Monmouth County. He is an African American disabled veteran.

“Mr. Brown believes that iAnthus’s actions created working conditions so intolerable that he was compelled to resign, as any reasonable person in his position would have done,” Matthew Sheppe, an attorney with Reiss Sheppe LLP, who is representing Brown, said in a statement.

The lawsuit is the latest in ongoing drama between two companies: MPX, which won the license to grow, process and sell marijuana in the state, and iAnthus, which operates in several states. The two entered into a master services agreement that will over time move ownership from MPX NJ to iAnthus. But state regulators must approve a full transfer of any license.

MPX NJ won the license in 2018 but it has yet to open its doors. There have been construction delays at its Pleasantville marijuana growing facility, and a souring relationship between the two companies has been blamed.