California Cannabis Executive Fired After Receiving Sexts, Propositions From Co-Worker’s Wife

A former government of a serious publicly traded California hashish firm has sued his outdated employer, alleging that he was fired after he declined repeated affords to sleep with a fellow c-suite member’s spouse.

Kevin Lawrence joined Indus Holdings in January 2021 as chief income officer. The subsequent month, Indus bought Lowell Herb Co., a outstanding model identified for pre-rolls and different merchandise. The two firms merged, with the brand new entity often known as Lowell Farms.

According to a grievance filed Feb. 25 in Monterey County Superior Court, Lawrence was fired in on September 17, 2021 after the spouse of Kelly McMillin, a former chief of police in Salinas, California and the corporate’s chief compliance officer, repeatedly despatched him graphic textual content messages—together with nude photographs, movies of McMillin and his spouse engaged in intercourse acts, and entreaties for Lawrence and his spouse to hitch the couple in swinger events.

On one event, Lawrence agreed to satisfy McMillin’s spouse—who’s recognized within the go well with solely as “T”—for intercourse, solely to again off partly as a result of “Mrs. McMillin” warned Lawrence that McMillin “doesn’t want to have to discipline the guy who’s banging his wife,” the lawsuit alleges.

After finally declining the assembly with McMillin’s spouse and as an alternative “submitting to [a] sexting relationship because he felt he had no choice,” and attending a number of “ribald work event[s]” by which “officers and directors… consumed heavy amounts of alcohol and drugs,” Lawrence was “terminated in retaliation for reporting and opposing” the habits, in accordance with the go well with.

At one level, in accordance with the go well with, Mrs. McMillin warned Lawrence that “the budding sexual relationship” “[c]ould risk your job.”

The go well with alleges a hostile work setting, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination, and it seeks unspecified damages. The go well with additionally identifies Lawrence as a survivor of childhood sexual assault and rape, whose traumatic experiences left him “more susceptible to quid pro quo sexual manipulation than a normally healthy person.”

Through his lawyer, Daniel M. Gilleon, Lawrence declined to remark.

In a press release, a Lowell Farms spokeswoman stated the corporate had obtained the grievance, “and although it will not comment on specifics, they [sic] strongly dispute his portrayal of events and look forward to defending the company with ample corroborating material and testimony.”

In a current investor deck filed on the Canadian Stock Exchange, the place the corporate is traded, Lowell Farms claims to be the highest model of hashish flower in California “by unit volume,” with 3.4 % of the market and the second-biggest model of focus by unit, with 5 % of the market.

In addition to Lowell, the go well with additionally names associated firms together with Indus Holding Company, Wellness Innovation Group, and Edible Management, LLC.

Current c-suite executives, together with CEO Mark Ainsworth, usually are not named as defendants within the go well with, though on no less than one event, Lawrence knowledgeable Ainsworth of McMillin’s conduct. Ainsworth advised him to “steer clear” of the McMillins, the go well with alleges.

The go well with additionally names former board member Kevin McGrath, who resigned from the corporate on Jan. 11, 2022, in accordance with firm filings. On one event, after a piece operate in Salinas, Lawrence was woke up by “a nude and heavily impaired McGrath” who climbed into mattress with him, spooned him for a couple of minutes, after which left.

It’s unclear when McMillin departed from the corporate, although January SEC submitting, he was nonetheless listed as chief compliance officer.

Also named within the go well with is Robert Weakley, the co-founder and former CEO of Indus Holdings. It was at Weakley’s dwelling the place no less than one alleged untoward encounter between Lawrence and one in every of his co-workers occurred, in accordance with the go well with.

Weakley made information in 2016 when, because the then-CEO of Altai Brands, an edibles firm, he hosted a celebration at MJBizCon in Las Vegas by which visitors ate chilly cuts off of the near-naked physique of a feminine mannequin—the charcuterie model of nyotaimori, the apply of consuming sushi off of a unadorned lady that’s broadly considered as offensive and degrading.

Weakley later apologized for what he admitted was “a bad choice and it was offensive.”

Weakley served as CEO of Indus Holdings till April 2020, when the corporate was recapitalized. He couldn’t be instantly reached.

According to the go well with, between April and June, Lawrence obtained frequent messages through WhatsApp from McMillin’s spouse, informing him of her and her husbands’ intercourse life and entreating him to hitch in numerous actions.

The messages included each picture of the McMillins engaged in numerous intercourse acts with one another and others, the go well with alleges.

At one level, Lawrence did reciprocate, sending “Mrs. McMillin” “a photograph of his erection.”

Lawrence “lacked the capacity to tell his boss the truth, that he never wanted to have sex with them and that he had submitted to the sexting relationship because he had no choice.”

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