We’ve written plenty about cannabis arbitrations before, and why these proceedings may make more sense for your situation (see links at the bottom of this post!). But when you need fast, injunctive relief, a prior agreement to arbitrate can potentially be disastrous.
Arbitration is much slower than other litigation to get started — even though arbitration is typically regarded as highly efficient and having an overall shorter timeline. If you want to file a lawsuit in state or federal court, you draft a complaint and file. In arbitration though, you have to prepare a demand, appoint an arbitrator or multiple arbitrators, and agree to rules. This can take several weeks.
Sometimes this isn’t an issue, but sometimes it is. Many cannabis litigation cases can involve requests for “injunctive relief” – this means, a party is not (only) asking for money damages, but also an order from the court that restrains a party from doing certain acts.
A classic example is if a cannabis company is suing one of its ex-employees for spreading its trade secrets to the public. In that case, you need fast relief – something like a temporary restraining order, or a preliminary injunction, or a