One of the most influential marijuana breeders in the world has filed a lawsuit against a cannabis company, alleging that he lost his job there due to the fact that he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and required certain accommodations.
Christopher Lynch filed the suit against Node Labs Inc. in a San Francisco court on Monday.
The complaint details Lynch’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2014, and his dealings with Node Labs.
In 2017, Lynch “began work on the genetic development and breeding of Cannabis plants including, but not limited to ‘C. Sativa’ varieties,” according to the lawsuit. He ultimately formed Compound IP LLC, and trademarked the name, “Compound Genetics,” before entering into an agreement with Node Labs in 2019 to sell Compound IP LLC assets.
But by 2020, the relationship between Lynch and the company was deteriorating. According to the complaint, the defendants “were actively frustrating the purpose of the original Contract by refusing to provide [Lynch] with an accounting of the sales upon which [his] compensation was based.”
“Further, [Node Labs] had failed to pay [Lynch] his sales bonus. Defendants continued to actively frustrate the purpose and intent of the original Contract throughout the remainder of his employment and beyond,” the complaint says.
“Throughout Plaintiff’s employment Defendants used Plaintiff’s standing in the genetic industry to bolster the NODE and COMPOUND brand. Although Plaintiff was not required by his employment agreement to do so, Defendants demanded that Plaintiff make appearances, participate in interviews, and market the brand using his name and likeness,” the complaint continues.
In the lawsuit, Lynch alleges that, in May 2021, Node Labs CEO Lauren Avenius “attempted to minimize [Lynch’s] importance and future role with the company by telling a key investor that Plaintiff had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.”
After months of alleged disagreements between the two sides, the complaint says that Lynch was fired in December a week after filing “a complaint against [Node Labs] with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.”
“At the time, [Lynch] was on medical leave and [Node Labs] had locked [him] out of the company email system,” according to the complaint.
Lynch, who has bred some of the most popular cannabis strains available and has teamed up with brands and celebrities, was profiled last week by Forbes.
“He’s the man behind some of the best-known strains on the market today including Pink Certz, Apples & Bananas, Khalifa Mints, Blueberry Banana, Fish Scale, Eye Candy, and more. Alchemizing new flavors using rare, hard-to-find genetics is his bread-and-buttter. Lynch’s strain Pink Certz won 2022 Strain of the Year from High Times. The year prior, High Times deemed Lynch one of the 100 most influential people in cannabis. Pink Certz also won First Place at the 2022 Transbay Challenge III.” Forbes said.
“His success has been hard-fought. Lynch was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s in 2014 after he had brain surgery to remove a cerebellum cyst located inside the back of his head.”
“Life is precious, be grateful for what you have,” Lynch told Forbes. “Your life can change overnight. Don’t wait to pursue your dreams and goals.”
The profile details how Lynch got into cannabis after he “dropped out of high school his sophomore year and moved to Amsterdam in 2004 and Rotterdam in 2005.”
“During his time in Holland, Lynch immersed himself in the cannabis culture and learned a tremendous amount. He brought that knowledge back to Portland, Oregon, where he began his career growing medical marijuana,” the story said.