Ascend Addresses MedMen Suit In Earnings Call

In the continuing battle between MedMen (OTC: MMNFF) and Ascend Wellness (OTC: AAWH), Ascend’s CEO Abner Kurtin addressed the situation during the company’s earnings call after the market closed. On Monday, MedMen filed another court document amending its allegations over political influence peddling. In that filing MedMen essentially said that it may have had incorrect details, but the company still stands by its accusations. It has accused the New York political machine of approving the acquisition but only after the Governor’s office received a donation from Ascend.

According to the transcript, Kurtin said, “Before moving on, I want to address our pending New York transaction, an ongoing litigation related to the license, we are under contract to purchase from MedMen New York. As you likely know, we are in litigation with MedMen regarding what we call their invalid termination of our investment agreement. The case is plain and simple, for the lawsuit is just a desperate attempt to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us to make a quick buck, it’s a case of seller’s remorse, you can’t back out of a home sale once you realize that you could have gotten a better deal. This is no different.

In January after we filed our lawsuit against MedMen, the parties agreed to maintain the status quo until the trial. Today (March 8) MedMen dropped at least two false and disparaging allegations regarding a meeting at a fundraiser, which was representatives of the governor’s office and Ascend that MedMen included without any basis in their original counterclaims. This is just further proof that MedMen will say anything including making false accusations to try to get more money from us.

At the beginning of the action together with MedMen, we agreed on an accelerated trial schedule. Just yesterday, we filed a cease and desist letter to stop MedMen from marketing the asset, which is a brazen attempt to violate the status quo. We are very confident in our position and we have no doubt that the lawsuit will end in our favor, with MedMen obligated to proceed with the transaction and pay our legal fees. Once the dispute is resolved, we intend to proceed with our canopy expansion plans and readying the assets for the start of adult-use sales in New York. It is time for MedMen to honor its obligations under the agreement so we can proceed to build the business for the benefit of medical patients in New York as MedMen has failed to do while owning the license.”

Kurtin was asked by analyst Ty Collin of Eight Capital about the New York market, assuming Ascend won the legal battle. Collin’s wanted to know whether even if the company won the battle, it was going to be far behind its competitors.

Kurtin answered, “Look, I think that we’re hopeful, we agreed to an expedited trial. We’re hopeful that sometime this year we get resolutions. We do acknowledge that the New York legal system moves at its own pace. And the sellers have a long history of litigious behavior. So you never know what kind of appeals they might pursue. But we think this is an open and shut case, and therefore summary judgment and the quick result is a possible outcome.

In terms of being behind, we think we’re in good shape. We can’t disclose everything we’re working on now. But we think we have a good opportunity to join adult-use when it opens with substantial canopy through actions that we’re doing. So we’re very hopeful here that we’re going to be able to be in a great position in New York despite the current litigation. Thank you.”

Editors note: Green Market Report made some slight grammatical corrections to the quote. Transcribed comments often have errors in grammar and the corrections do not take away from the meaning. It just makes it easier to read.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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