BC micro files notice of claim alleging non-payment from processing partner

| Staff

A micro producer in BC has filed a notice of claim in provincial court alleging a third-party processor did not pay him for products they sold into the Ontario market. 

Laine Keyes, the owner of Pineapple Buds Inc., a micro cultivator and processor in Oliver, BC, filed the claim in a Penticton Court, naming several people connected to BC cannabis producer Embark Health and their parent company BevCanna.

Keyes alleges that Pineapple Buds Inc. provided cannabis to the defendants to sell to the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) and was not paid for the product, despite selling out in what Keyes says was “record time.”

“The defendants did not pay us for the product,” wrote Keyes in the statement. “We were told by the defendants, and given personal guarantees, that when they get paid we will be paid.”

The statement also specifically names Martino Ciambrelli, who was listed as the Responsible Person In Charge (RPIC) with the OCS by BevCanna Enterprises Inc. 

BevCanna acquired Embark in 2022.

“Fortunately I have recordings of our conversations,” continued Keye’s statement. “Martino and Bevcanna Enterprises Inc. controlled the bank accounts for Embark Health Inc. and Embark Delta Inc. Later we found out that for months Martino was misleading us by continuing to say that they hadn’t been paid, while in fact the entire time they were lying to us and were paid. Furthermore, after they received deposited funds from the OCS that were designated for Pineapple Bud Inc. Martino and Marcello paid themselves out of the Bevcanna account with the funds from the OCS designated for Pineapple Buds Inc.”

Keyes says he is seeking $35,000, which is, essentially, a limit under small claims court. Under BC’s rules, claims for more than $35,000 generally go to the BC Supreme Court. One can still make a claim for more than $35,000 in Small Claims Court, but if you do, you must abandon the amount over $35,000.

Keyes tells StratCann he is owed $70,000, but the costs associated with taking the case to the Supreme Court rather than through small claims court were too high. 

Pineapple Buds received its micro processing licence in April 2023. A processing licence is required to sell products into provincial markets. Keyes tells StratCann that Pineapple secured their deal with Embark to sell into Ontario before receiving its processing licence. The micro producer now handles its own packaging and processing.

StratCann reached out to BevCanna for comment, but they were not immediately available as of press time. Embark Health’s website is currently listed as expired.

Featured image of Laine Keyes and Kyra Horvath, the owners of Pineapple buds.

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