Lisa Hurwitz, former Grassroots CMO on left and Mitch Kahn, Grassroots CEO.

An attempt by the former chief marketing officer of Illinois’ Grassroots Cannabis to claim millions of dollars in compensation was dealt a blow Thursday when Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Otto dismissed fraud charges from the case.

Lisa Hurwitz, the one-time CMO of Grassroots Cannabis, which merged with Curaleaf in July 2020, alleged that Grassroots CEO Mitch Kahn defrauded her out of millions of stock options as a result of Curaleaf’s $830 million purchase of Grassroots, because Kahn provided Hurwitz with a “phantom stock agreement” that provided considerably less compensation from the merger than restrictive stock agreements offered to other company executives.

[Read Judge Otto’s order. Download Curaleaf’s brief on fraud complaint.]

Judge Otto dismissed the fraud count of Hurwitz complaint without prejudice based on defendant Curaleaf’s argument that Hurwitz signed the phantom stock agreement with full knowledge that it was not the same as a restrictive stock agreement and there is no evidence that Kahn plotted to defraud Hurwitz in advance of her signing the agreement.

According to the order issued by Judge Otto on Thursday in the case Hurwitz v. GHG Management (Curaleaf), the remaining breach of contract claim will move forward in a hearing this Wednesday, January 26. Meanwhile, Hurwitz took an option from Judge Otto to pursue discovery with Curaleaf, and if she develops evidence to support a fraud claim, she may amend her complaint in the future.


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...