Harvest of OH (The Harvest of Ohio companies) has filed a response to the recent allegations of loan default by Florida based Trulieve Inc. and its subsidiaries. The response alleges that Trulieve, and its wholly owned subsidiary Harvest Health and Recreation (HHR), and various controlled shell companies and individuals, acted as an unlawful enterprise to meticulously implement a hostile takeover of Harvest of OH, a vertically integrated, Black and woman owned medical cannabis business based in Ohio that has been serving the local patient population for years.
The company said the Trulieve Entities promised to support Harvest of OH, as a local, Black, woman-owned cannabis company by providing "operational expertise" and "market rate funding." Instead, Trulieve Entities engaged in predatory practices designed to obstruct operations in an attempt to fully take over the Ohio business.
According to the filing, these malicious practices included:
- Predatory loans forced upon Harvest of OH with overcharges for rent, construction and other fees with unachievable payback plans.
- Empty promises to provide operational support and expertise to Harvest of OH through purposeless consulting and licensing agreements. These arrangements in fact provided little value relative to the fees charged and lined the pockets of the Trulieve Entities.
- Underfunding the cultivation facility construction to a level that could secure a Certificate of Operation, but could not function properly or achieve profitability.
- Misleading Ohio's Department of Commerce to believe that Ariane Kirkpatirck, Harvest of OH CEO, would remain in control of the operations and maintain majority ownership of the endeavor.
The response further alleges that Trulieve Entities took advantage of a statutory carve out in Ohio's medical cannabis program meant to promote equitable participation of historically disenfranchised groups and individuals in Ohio's cannabis industry. Additionally, the Trulieve Entities allegedly orchestrated an elaborate scheme to force out Harvest of OH's predominantly Black and female ownership group and executive team, and defrauded the state's regulators in the process. Harvest of OH believes that the Trulieve Entities never intended to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ohio's cannabis industry. Rather, they schemed to backdoor valuable licenses through a carve out meant to empower those who they conspired against.
Shortly after Trulieve acquired HHR and its affiliates, it intentionally engaged in bad faith discussions with Harvest of OH while it secured licenses to enter the Ohio market and directly compete with Harvest of OH. Once Trulieve was granted an Ohio license, it unilaterally and abruptly broke negotiations with Harvest of OH and filed its baseless lawsuit.
This case is now pending before the Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County as Case No. 23 CV 005001. The pleadings in this case are a matter of public record and are available through the Court's website. Harvest of OH is confident these elaborate machinations will be uncovered, and the Trulieve Entities will be held accountable in a court of law.