Sued for nearly $1 million in back rent, a national cannabis chain says a federal judge can’t order it to pay up because its business isn’t even allowed to operate under federal law.
The rental contract for a Fulton Market storefront therefore “cannot be enforced in [federal] court,” contends MedMen, a California-based company.
But the landlord, Thor Equities, said Illinois law actually closes that potential loophole and insists the lease is both “valid and enforceable.”
The novel legal battle is shaping up in the Southern District of New York, where Thor Equities filed a lawsuit in July after MedMen allegedly stopped paying rent under a 15-year lease it signed in 2019.
Thor filed the lawsuit in the New York federal court because it is headquartered and registered in New York City.But U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken questioned whether the lawsuit belonged there and said he was inclined to dismiss it.
Thor, a real estate and leasing company, responded by saying it might shift its legal action to a state court in California, where MedMen is based and where cannabis sales are legal, according to court documents.
MedMen argued Thor is just “shopping” for a better playing field and said it can’t pick a new forum.