The Tampa Bay Times reports that First Harvest Financial has sued Cannavoices, a media property in which it has invested and that launched this summer and then went silent.
The Tampa company, which produces Cannavoices Lifestyle magazine, which focuses primarily on medical marijuana, launched with a party at the Station House restaurant in St. Petersburg during the summer.
Just four months later, the players who created Cannavoices are ensnared in a legal battle over control of a fledgling company now mired in competing claims about the misuse of corporate assets. The magazine has published just one issue, and postings on the main page of the website, cannavoices.com, have not been updated since August.
In a lawsuit filed last month in Hillsborough circuit court, three Cannavoices shareholders — Kevin Gillespie, Danny Hammett and Joel Prackler — accuse Robert McCann, Cannavoices president, of “wasting corporate assets” and “damaging the goodwill and reputation” of the company. The suit seeks $20 million in damages.
First Harvest Financial, also based in Florida, is a private equity fund focused on the cannabis industry. The principals of the investment firm, which raises outside investor money, are the same people involved with running the media investment, and the offices share a common address. The article points to other disturbing pieces of information, such as a $25K monthly salary for McCann and Gillespie allegedly removing $400K from the company. In a press release earlier this year, McCann was described as an employee of First Harvest:
“First Harvest is a private equity firm that invests in ancillary medical cannabis related companies. We’re primarily made up of over 20 investment advisors that have collectively raised, managed, and advised in excess of 475 million dollars,” said Robert McCann, Director of Business Development of First Harvest Financial. “But what’s really unique about the First Harvest family is most of the team has been familiar with each other for the last 20 years.
Read William R. Levesque’s “Battle over Tampa marijuana magazine company Cannavoices lands in court”: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/battle-over-tampa-marijuana-magazine-cannavoices-lands-in-court/2255360