dutchie sues akerna

Dutchie sues Akerna over barriers of entry to the Pennsylvania market 

Dutchie is pulling out the legal tools against one of its competitors, Akerna Corp., alleging that the Colorado-based company is engaging in unfair business practices. The cannabis point-of-sale platform filed suit against Akerna in January, claiming that the company deliberately created systemic barriers to ensure that medical establishments in Pennsylvania chose Akerna over Dutchie. 

Let’s back up a little. Akerna previously won the Pennsylvania state contract for its seed-to-sale inventory tracking program, but Dutchie claims that Akerna’s refusal to set up a two-way interface, which would allow dispensaries to use Dutchie software in conjunction with the state’s tracking program, was deliberately meant to keep the company out. The state’s current tracking program is MJ Freeway, a subsidiary of Akerna. 

State law says Akerna must make the inventory tracking system available to “two-way communication, automation, and API,” according to the lawsuit. This means that dispensaries wanting to use a POS software other than Akerna must still pay for Akerna’s software before paying an additional fee to integrate that software into their preferred system. 

Akerna disagrees with the allegations. “Akerna has facilitated conversations between Dutchie and the Commonwealth regarding this claim,” CEO Jessica Billingsley told Green Market Report. “In these conversations, it has been made clear to Dutchie that Leaf Data Systems is contractually unable to unilaterally make changes to its product, as changes can only be made through written change requests from the Department of Health. No such change request has been submitted.”

Dutchie’s suit requests a jury trial and monetary damages, as well as a permanent injunction that will require Akerna to change its system to be compatible with other companies’ software. 

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