Cura Cannabis, which claims to be the biggest company in Oregon’s legalized marijuana market, sued a rival in California on Friday over anonymous social media posts.
Portland-based Cura alleges a competitor, Bloom Farms, created fake social media accounts to highlight sexual assault allegations against Cura investor and former chief executive Nitin Khanna.
“(Bloom Farms) wanted to use false statements to induce retailers to stop selling Cura products, get consumers to stop buying Cura products, to divert sales of Cura’s products to themselves and to other competitors, to harm Cura’s ability to fundraise, and to reduce competition in the cannabis industry,” Cura charged in its lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court in California.
The Portland Business Journal reported the suit Friday.
Cura sells wholesale cannabis oil to retailers under the brand name Select Oils. It asserts that the social media campaign against it succeeded in undermining its reputation with consumers, diverting sales to Bloom and other competitors. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus legal costs.
“We are disappointed to discover that another company in our community would sink to these lows and utilize such despicable tactics to hamper competition in the industry,” Cura wrote in a statement Friday.
In his own statement, Bloom Farms chief executive Michael Ray did not specifically deny playing a role in the social media posts. Instead, he cast his company as a defender of free speech.
“This suit is yet another attempt by Select/Cura to bully competitors and silence individuals who are exercising their right to free speech by expressing their outrage and disgust over publicly available information on rape allegations against Select’s founder Nitin Khanna,” Ray wrote.
“As a company and individuals, we join and support those who advocate for equal opportunity and condemn all forms of sexual discrimination, harassment and