Healthy Pharms, a medical marijuana dispensary that was closed in February because a pesticide was found on its product, is facing a federal lawsuit after a neighboring business owner claimed the dispensary is involved in illegal federal marijuana crimes.
Raj Dhanda, who owns Crimson Galleria next door, brought the lawsuit against Happy Pharms because he believes the dispensary violated the RICO statute and caused a decrease in his property's value by $27 million.
Dhanda’s attorneys say having a pot shop in the neighborhood isn't good for business.
"Our client is not an ideologue, he is not against marijuana per se, he is against these facilities causing harm to the value of his properties," said Dhanda's attorney, Scott Schlager.
But Healthy Pharm's attorney said this is not a valid claim.
"I think they are wrong on the law and the facts and that property values are going down, so I don't think they are likely to prevail in this," said Healthy Pharm's attorney, Emma Quinn-Judge.
Kari Kuelzer, the owner of Grendel's, a restaurant across from Healthy Pharms, disagrees with the lawsuit.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"I think Harvard Square has been a progressive beacon," said Kuelzer. "If the city doesn't have its first mainstream urban dispensary, then we aren't living up to your expectation."
This federal lawsuit could also disrupt recreational marijuana sales across the state.
"This certainly will have far-reaching implications in Massachusetts," said Schlager.
Healthy Pharm's attorney said the people voted in favor of legalizing medicinal marijuana, and they should get what they voted for.
"All of this seems contrary to the will of the voters, who voted repeatedly in this state to allow marijuana in this form," said Quinn-judge.
The RICO statute allows the plaintiff to receive three times the damages to their property, which means that Dhanda stands to win $81 million from this lawsuit.
Healthy Pharms filed a dismissal in January. It is still sitting in court.