The United State’s first antitrust verdict against the cannabis industry was delivered on September 23rd by a jury in Martinez, California.
A seven-week trial in the Superior Court of California has declared that, according to antitrust regulations, a judgment of $15 million dollars, plus incurred fees will be awarded to plaintiff, Richmond Compassionate Care Collective.
The lawsuit emerged after three dispensaries in Richmond, California allegedly plotted to prevent Richmond Compassionate Care Collective from establishing a competing dispensary and retail shop in the area.
In an official news statement, notable antitrust lawyer, Joseph M. Alioto of Alioto Law Firm states “Competition and small businesses are the backbone of California and the United States. They produce the most jobs, better service, higher quality, increased production, lower prices, and other substantial benefits to the people. The cannabis industry is in its embryonic stages. It is essential that competition rather than combination, monopoly and control is the hallmark of trade and commerce in this new industry. The jury, as the Supreme Court of the United States has said, is an essential part of the Congressional plan to make competition rather than combination, monopoly and control the rule of trade in the United States. The verdict today ensures the continuance of these great and important ideals.”
Antitrust laws exist to ensure fair competition between businesses and to protect consumers from exploitative business practices. The jury’s judgment under California’s antitrust laws will have far-reaching implications for the states that have legalized the sale of cannabis.