NY: Medmen Countersue Ascend – Gov Huchul In The Picture. Allegations Say Fundraising Event At Center Of Lawsuit

Here we go in NY,  Californians will have a wry smile on their face when they start reading up on this. It didn’t take long for the politics of cannabis to make its way all the way to the Gov’s office. As always it is the trifecta in cannabis of money, influence and politics.

The NY Post reports

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office pushed to force the bargain-priced buyout of a well-positioned cannabis retailer just days before it was set to wriggle out of the deal — and just days after the lucky acquirer attended a fundraiser for Hochul, according to an explosive lawsuit.

Gov. Hochul’s administration used improper influence late last month to help recreational pot seller Ascend Wellness seal its $75 million deal to buy the MedMen marijuana dispensary chain, the suit filed on Monday claims.

Specifically, MedMen’s lawsuit alleges that Hochul’s office pushed regulators to OK the controversial deal after dragging their feet for nearly a year — and just days after one of Ascend’s executives attended a fundraiser for Hochul’s reelection campaign.

The fundraiser was hosted by Feuerstein Kulick, a Manhattan-based firm that is reportedly a “major player in the field of cannabis law” that “advises companies on winning licenses from state governments,” the suit claims.

Sources said MedMen appeared to want out of the deal and its relatively low price — whose terms were set to expire on Jan. 1 if state officials took no action — after Hochul made the statewide rollout of retail marijuana shops a priority after taking office in August.

That’s because the potential value of MedMen — one of just 10 dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana in the state — likely soared as she accelerated from the more cautious pace set by ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo after state lawmakers legalized pot last spring.

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