Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol, et al., Case No. MSC16-01426

Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol, et al., Case No. MSC16-01426

Budding Antitrust Activity in the Cannabis Industry: Lessons from Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol   Posted  November 2, 2021 By Kristian Soltes As the cannabis industry continues to blossom from the backwoods into a multi-billion dollar bonanza, the antitrust spotlight is poised to increasingly shine on the industry’s many players. A California state court jury’s recent verdict awarding treble damages of $15 million to a medical marijuana collective could be an early harbinger of future activity in the cannabis space. The verdict was returned on September 23, 2021, in the California Superior Court case of Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol, Case No. MSC16-01426 (September 23, 2021). Plaintiff Richmond Compassionate Care Collective (RCCC), the first licensed medical marijuana collective in Richmond, CA, alleged that defendants, three other licensed cooperatives, conspired to exclude RCCC and others from the medical marijuana dispensary market, and prevent RCCC from purchasing or leasing a compliant property in Richmond. RCCC alleged that defendants violated California’s Cartwright Act by engaging in a horizontal restraint of trade to monopolize the medical marijuana dispensary market, which resulted in supra-competitive prices for consumers. RCCC claimed that the defendants met and strategized how best to tie up potential properties where a dispensary could legally operate, for at least six months—the time period California gives a licensed collective to open a compliant dispensary or risk losing its permit. For example, the defendants allegedly gave property owners letters of intent to lease or purchase available property simply to tie up the process, went door-to-door to landlords to convince them not to rent their properties to RCCC, and demanded non-compete clauses in their own contracts with landlords to block them from making their properties available to RCCC. Following the trial in August 2021, the jury found that defendants did indeed conspire to prevent RCCC from acquiring suitable property, causing…

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Source : Richmond Compassionate Care Collective v. Koziol, et al., Case No. MSC16-01426

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