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Cannabis MSO Ascend Wellness settles with fired Black former manager

A Black former manager at Ascend Wellness Holdings who sued the multistate operator alleging he was mistreated and fired because of his race recently settled his case out of court, documents show.

Tyrick Gales, a Pennsylvania resident who worked at Ascend’s cultivation operation in Franklin, New Jersey, sued Ascend in federal court in March.

The two parties agreed before trial to drop the suit, according to a Nov. 1 letter from Ascend attorney Ivan Novich to U.S. District Court Judge Jessica Allen.

Terms of the settlement were not available.

Novich did not immediately respond to an MJBizDaily email seeking comment.

Ari Karpf, whom court records identify as Gales’ attorney, did not immediately respond to a MJBizDaily request for comment.

In his suit, Gales claims he was first hired to work at the location in 2018 under predecessor company Greenleaf Compassion Centers, which Ascend acquired in 2020.

The suit alleged Gales was fired in May 2022 – after a brief paternity leave – by white managers who treated him “as if he was a criminal.”

Gales claimed he was suspended after a conflict with a white manager who demonstrated racist conduct, including mistreating Black employees and openly complaining about the “the black and the spic” people at a previous company.

The suit claimed that, after the suspension, two different white managers fired Gales after accusing him of stealing 250 grams of marijuana that had gone missing from the cultivation operation.

Gales claimed to be the only employee punished for the alleged missing cannabis, which his suit claimed was never missing at all and “mostly likely a reporting error.”

He also claimed to have had a spotless record in a work environment that turned hostile only after a white cultivation manager was hired.

The suit alleged violations of state and federal employment and civil rights protections.

Other Black former employees of marijuana MSOs have accused the companies of racial bias.

In April, Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp. settled a lawsuit with a Black former middle manager who claimed she was paid less than lesser-educated and qualified white colleagues.

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