Cannabis plant Credit: Christine Stuart photo

A former cannabis industry executive who now helps to oversee the market as a regulator with the Department of Consumer Protection is suing her former employer, Theraplant, over allegations it failed to pay her $375,000 in severance. 

Jennifer Mandzuk, former CEO at Theraplant, left the licensed cannabis producer in December of 2022 and began working this year as a cannabis program manager for the Department of Consumer Protection.

Mandzuk and Dan Emmans, another former Theraplant chief executive officer, filed a lawsuit in Waterbury Superior Court back in July. It was first reported this week by CTInsider.

In the complaint, both Mandzuk and Emmans argue that the cannabis cultivator violated their employment agreements when the company did not pay them 12 months’ severance after they separately quit for good cause related to issues like the company not providing promised bonuses. 

“The Defendant, by and through its officers, employees and/or agents made material misrepresentations to the Plaintiffs with respect to severance payments it would make to the Plaintiffs upon their termination for Good Reason, and made false promises of a character likely to influence, persuade or induce the procurement of the Employment Agreements,” attorney John Wolfson wrote in the complaint.

Theraplant has long been a medical marijuana producer in Connecticut and was among the first cannabis cultivators to supply the state’s commercial market when it launched in January. The company was sold this year to DXR Holdco subsidiary NewCo amid financial trouble at its previous owner, Greenrose Holding Company. 

According to the lawsuit, Greenrose executives promised Mandzuk and Emmans bonuses that were never paid and have declined to provide them with paperwork necessary to sell their shares in the business. 

Meanwhile, the complaint alleged that the company had declined to pay Mandzuk for her unused vacation time despite discouraging her from using it prior to her departure. 

Representatives of Theraplant did not immediately respond to a Wednesday afternoon email seeking comment. Meanwhile, Nicole Conboy, chief administrative officer at Greenrose Holding Company, also could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit. 

Daniel Glissman, outside counsel for Theraplant’s current owners, said that it was not appropriate for Theraplant to comment on a lawsuit directed that company’s previous owners.

“This lawsuit is against the prior owners of the company and has nothing to do with today’s Theraplant, which is focused on serving the marketplace with high-quality Connecticut-crafted cannabis products,” Glissman said Thursday.

In the three months since Mandzuk and Emmans filed the lawsuit, no attorneys have filed an appearance on behalf of Theraplant. In August, the court granted a motion for default based on the company’s failure to appear.

Mandzuk does not oversee cases involving Theraplant in her role at the Consumer Protection Department, DCP spokesperson Kaitlyn Krasselt said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Department has ensured that any issues related to Theraplant are handled by an alternate supervisor to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” Krasselt said.