A social media campaign to boycott the cannabis extract company Cura Cannabis Solutions has led to a lawsuit. On Friday, Cura filed a lawsuit in Alameda County, California, accusing Bloom Farms of defaming the company online using anonymous Twitter and Instagram handles. The lawsuit alleges persons working for or on behalf of Bloom Farms orchestrated a campaign with “malicious intent” to ruin Cura’s business.
Speaking with High Times, a Cura spokesperson said the company’s lawsuit is about restoring fairness to the THC and CBD oils market. “From its inception, Cura has sought to be a model of diversity and inclusion and to support a sense of community in the cannabis industry. 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. We look forward to proving our case in court and to restoring a fair and equal playing field to the market for THC and CBD oils.”
Cura Cannabis Solutions Just Filed a Lawsuit Against Bloom Farms
Cannabis retail is a competitive industry, especially in Oregon and California. But one well-known Portland concentrates company says one of their main competitors isn’t playing fair.
According to a previous John Doe lawsuit filed by Cura Cannabis Solutions, the company complained that they started losing sales early last year, when fake social media accounts and anonymous phone calls began making false and exaggerated claims relating to a settled sexual assault case from the CEO at the time, Nitin Khanna’s, past.
Now, Cura is accusing its rival Bloom Farms of making the false claims that continue to damage the company’s sales and reputation.
According to the complaint, “Cura is one of the largest cannabis companies in the world and has experienced rapid growth since its founding in 2015. Initially, a 15-person operation limited to Oregon, Cura now has more than 500 employees and expanded to California and Nevada in 2017, to Arizona in 2018 and has plans to expand to other states and international markets. Cura had revenues of more than $40 million in 2017 and $117 million in 2018. Cura secured over $40 million in financing based on a $400 million valuation in May 2018 and over $75 million in financing in November 2018.”
Despite this growth, Cura alleges that Bloom’s tactics harmed its business. The complaint states that Bloom Farms created several fake social media handles in order to defame Khanna, Cura, and Select Oil, one of Cura’s signature cartridge brands.
One account took things up a notch. Not only did it continue to make claims about Khanna’s past, it also called for boycotting Cura. Cura’s lawsuit alleges social media posts encouraged followers to “vote with your wallet.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit also alleges that at least nine retailers who stock Cura’s products received anonymous phone calls making false claims about Khanna and Cura.
Cura alleges that Bloom exaggerated Khanna’s civil suit to defame the company and hurt its business. Under multiple fake social media handles, Twitter and Instagram posts went out tagging Cura and its brands, falsely claiming Khanna “has a history of sexual assault charges” and “rape charges.”
Cura Attempts to Recover From Social Media Campaign Against Former CEO
As per Cura Cannabis Solution’s initial press release, they saw the “personal allegations” against Khanna a distraction from the company’s mission. It was distracting enough to prompt Khanna’s resignation from his post as Cura CEO in May of 2018. Cura’s new president and CEO Cameron Forni told reporters that Khanna’s resignation was due to a “campaign by a competitor to harm our company.”
And according to Cura, that campaign is working. The company says it has already lost customers and retail clients in response to publicity over Khanna’s past.
Response from Bloom Farms
After reaching out for a comment, Bloom Farms’ founder and CEO Michael Ray responded:
“We will not comment on the specific claims in the pending litigation but intend to defend ourselves vigorously. 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. Bloom Farms is a socially conscious company that has thrived by putting people and communities first since our founding. As a company and individuals, we join and support those who advocate for equal opportunity and condemn all forms of sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault.”