From Chicago come allegations about marijuana misdeeds in Arkansas, specifically illicit pot growing for a cultivation facility.
The Sun-Times reports on a federal lawsuit filed this week by a former employee of a cultivation facility in Newport who was arrested for growing marijuana in his home in Jonesboro. He claims the plants were being cultivated for a Newport greenhouse not yet ready for business. The cultivation center, when visited by state agents, said it didn’t know the plants came from Nicholas Nielsen’s home.
The suit claims the plants at Nielsen’s home were grown from clippings brought to Arkansas by Michael Frontier, an employee of a company targeted for potential purchase by the company operating the Newport facility. That deal wasn’t completed.
Frontier allegedly hid four different pot strains in Whole Foods salads and took the weed on a commercial flight from Chicago to Memphis, the suit contends. From there, Frontier allegedly rented a car and drove the marijuana to Nielsen in Arkansas.
In the suit, Nielsen claims Harvest initially told him that it was legal to grow the plants at the makeshift cultivation facility in his home, which the company allegedly financed. But following the raid, the suit notes that Nielsen was fired by Harvest “as a result of his arrest.”
The suit was filed in Colorado against Verano Holdings, a Chicago-based cannabis enterprise.
UPDATE: Defendants in the case include a number of people who no longer have a connection to the operation. They were a part of the combine that sought the cultivation permit. One of them, former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a statement:
“NSWE sold last year, so I am now a former stockholder. Even before the sale, the Arkansas stockholders had zero involvement in the management or operation of the company. I never visited NSWE’s facility, met Mr. Nielson or any other NSWE employee and have no knowledge of the allegations in his suit. By his own admission, Mr. Nielson was fired and arrested on felony drug charges. There are no grounds for a federal suit in Colorado against a licensed company in Arkansas, and I expect this suit will be dismissed,” Dustin McDaniel said.