It is common for businesses and individuals in the United States to resolve their disputes with lawsuits. Unfortunately, the maturing cannabis industry appears to be like any other when it comes to this kind of dispute resolution.
Participants increasingly are engaged in civil litigation involving 1) consumer-oriented claims, such as product liability, personal injury, and consumer fraud; 2) commercial disagreements, such as claims for breach of contract in consulting agreements, insurance policies, or supply agreements; 3) partnership claims, such as disputes over ownership interests and performance payouts; 4) intellectual property claims, such as trademark infringement or trade secret/non-compete violations; and 5) employment-related claims, such as harassment, workers compensation, and wage-related claims.
While these types of lawsuits are common in most industries, because of the cannabis industrys youth and the unique federal and state regulatory issues involved, businesses or consumers bringing, maintaining, or defending a civil action may be in uncharted waters.
There have yet to be any real precedent-setting cases to establish the playing field. Consequently, lawsuits may be more challenging for litigants, and thus potentially more disruptive and costly.