A New Jersey medical marijuana company gained back some control of its operations Wednesday when a court ruled that the cannabis giant who invested in it and then allegedly tried to take control must take some steps back.
MPX NJ, which received a license in 2018 to grow marijuana in Pleasantville and dispense it in Atlantic City, filed a suit in the Superior Court of Monmouth County last week against iAnthus. The license holder claimed iAnthus has hijacked its operations after investing $10 million, attempting to negotiate deals with state and local officials and undertake unauthorized construction at the growing facility.
Under the strict constraints of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, only the license holder can make such moves. MPX NJ is one of just two entities licensed in 2018 that has yet to open.
iAnthus and MPX NJ have several entanglements. The head of MPX NJ, Beth Stavola, worked as an iAnthus executive but resigned earlier this year. The companies have also entered into a master services agreement that would over time move ownership from MPX NJ to iAnthus, but it has yet to receive approval from the state Department of Health.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Joseph Quinn issued an initial order that states iAnthus will not represent itself as MPX NJ without disclosing the pending agreement before the health department or enter into contracts that bind MPX. It provides interim relief on the case, which will resume in January.
iAnthus must also inform Stavola of all contracts and construction at the Pleasantville cultivation site, and avoid additional unauthorized construction in parts of the facility where marijuana is being grown.
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