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Scotts Miracle-Gro Hires Law Chief in Pivot After Pandemic Boom

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Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. promoted Dimiter Todorov, a company veteran of nearly 15 years, to general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary.

Todorov replaced Ivan Smith this month in an online listing of the company’s executive leadership. He took the role in December after serving as vice president of legal since 2015, the Marysville, Ohio-based company disclosed in a securities filing.

Scotts specializes in lawn care and home agricultural products is trying to pivot after ramping up production during the pandemic, when the company capitalized on a US housing boom and a surge in interest in outdoor activities such as gardening. Scotts is expected to announce its quarterly financial results Wednesday.

The company, Smith, and Todorov didn’t respond to comment requests. Neither lawyer was among the six highest-paid executives at Scotts last year.

Todorov was born and raised in Bulgaria during communist rule before the fall of the Soviet Union, according to a 2016 profile by the trade publication Modern Counsel.

The son of a Bulgarian prosecutor, Todorov attended law school in the country before emigrating to the US with his parents and settling in the Midwest.

He went on to spend a dozen years working for McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, an Omaha-based law firm. Todorov made partner at the firm before joining Scotts as general counsel of the company’s international business unit in 2008.

That same year Scotts promoted Vincent Brockman to its top legal role, one he held until 2013, when Smith took on the position he would have for the next decade.

During that time Scotts expanded its business. Jones Day advised Scotts on its $450 million acquisition in 2018 of Sunlight Supply Inc. The company, a top US distributor of hydroponics products for cannabis growers, was folded into Hawthorne, a Scotts subsidiary serving the legal weed industry.

Scotts has faced legal challenges over some of its products, as well as scrutiny surrounding Roundup, a weedkiller the company markets on behalf of Monsanto Co., an agribusiness giant sold to Bayer AG.

The mass tort litigation related to Roundup has so far spared Scotts, which has publicly asserted its support for Bayer and declared that its partnership with the company indemnifies it against liability.

Barnes & Thornburg, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, and Jones Day have collectively had a role on nearly 50% of cases involving Scotts in US federal courts within the last five years, according to Bloomberg Law data.

Read more at

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/scotts-miracle-gro-hires-law-chief-in-pivot-after-pandemic-boom



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New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department revokes licenses at two Torrance County cannabis farms

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New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department revokes licenses at two Torrance County cannabis farms



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Massachusetts: Uxbridge to refund more than $1 million to cannabis retail outlet in impact fees case

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The Town of Uxbridge has reached an agreement in Superior Court to largely refund the community impact fees paid by a cannabis store, according to court documents and the law firm representing the store

On Dec. 29, the town entered into an agreement with Caroline’s Cannabis to refund the store $1,171,633.60. According to a statement from the law firm MacMillan Law Offices, the amount constitutes 80% of the community impact fees the store paid the town and may be the first legal settlement resulting in refund of the controversial fees in the state.

The store has a location at 640 Douglas St. in Uxbridge.

According to the law firm’s statement, Caroline’s Cannabis filed a lawsuit against the town in Worcester Superior Court in 2022. The store sought an order requiring the town to produce documentation to substantiate the community impact fee it was collecting from the store.

Caroline’s Cannabis claimed it had caused no impact or costs to the town, and that the town could not collect the fees unless it could document otherwise. At the time, Caroline’s Cannabis requested to recover $1.4 million.

Read the background here

https://www.telegram.com/story/news/local/2024/01/18/carolyns-cannabis-community-impact-fees-refuns/72272643007/



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Beverly Hills Lawyer Invested in Oregon Cannabis Farm .. Percentage of Crop(s) Ended Up In Cali Market

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Willamette Week breaks the story that’s going to ruin his holidays.

One of the many weed entrepreneurs to descend on Cave Junction during the green rush was Matthew Portnoff, a partner with a specialty in cannabis law at the California offices of a white-shoe law firm.

In 2020, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission determined that weed grown at his farm in 2019 had been diverted onto the black market. But after a yearslong investigation, the agency was never able to conclude whether Portnoff authorized the leakage—or if he was instead the victim of a swindle.

Portnoff declined to comment for this story.

A graduate of UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California’s law school, Portnoff, 48, is an expert in tax law based in Beverly Hills, with a history of entrepreneurial forays. (An online database lists him as a producer of a romantic comedy starring Paris Hilton in 2006 that was panned by critics.)

In 2016, Portnoff and his wife, Luiza, purchased a Cave Junction farm for $415,000 just as the state began handing out licenses to grow recreational weed. (An LLC controlled by his father, a surgeon from California, bought 19 acres next door to his son for the same purpose.)

Two years later, Portnoff and his wife landed a license. So, eventually, did his dad. They grew thousands of plants on the 35-acre properties located along Takilma Road in the rural farmland of the Illinois Valley.

To run his new Oregon farm, Portnoff hired a local grower named Michael Horner, who’d come recommended by a California client.

But by the time the first harvest arrived, an oversupply of weed on the market caused prices in Oregon to fall by at least half.

And beginning in February 2019, the OLCC began documenting a series of concerning reports from Portnoff’s employees.

First, Horner quit his job working for Portnoff and told an OLCC inspector in February 2019 that men had arrived on the farm to take weed back to California for sale.

A month later, the inspector went to the farm to investigate. State-licensed farms are required to have surveillance cameras monitoring all aspects of the operation. But in March 2019, the inspector discovered a four-day gap in the footage—and found “many discrepancies” between the inventory on site and what was recorded in a state database. The inspector opened some storage totes to find them empty or full of “waste material.” (The OLCC declined to disclose the records identifying the discrepancies to WW, noting they were exempt from public disclosure.)

Read the full report at 

https://www.wweek.com/news/2023/12/20/a-beverly-hills-lawyer-invested-in-oregon-weed-not-all-of-the-crop-seems-to-have-stayed-in-oregon/



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