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Missoula Medical Marijuana Entrepreneurs Christ, Rosio At Odds In Court

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Two of the most prominent and controversial members of Missoula's medical marijuana community are at legal odds over a former collaboration.

Jason Christ and Rick Rosio are due in court Tuesday for a pretrial conference in Christ's suit against Rosio and his Montana Pain Management business ( which appears to be defunct ), as well as Dr. J.P. Pujol of Helena.

Christ, who owns the former Montana Caregivers Network now known as CannabisCare, accuses the three of cheating him from the proceeds of patient referrals and a clinic held in December.

Missoula County District Judge Dusty Deshamps has signed a default judgment against Rosio for the $55,000 Christ claims is owed him. Another court filing alleges that Montana Pain Management is insolvent.

The complaint filed last month by Christ alleges that checks written by Rosio bounced, that Rosio refused to take his phone calls or hung up on him when the calls rang through, and that Rosio violated a no-compete agreement.

And Christ - who has been widely criticized for the traveling "cannabis caravans" that once signed up hundreds of people for medical marijuana recommendations in a few hours - wrote of an "ethical 'slippery slope' " because Pujol was contacted to staff the December clinic just hours before it was held.

"Therefore, the likelihood of the quality of medical expertise given to the patient, who is paying for expert health care, is lower," his complaint reads. "This ethical 'slippery slope' is analogous to a manufacture of oxycodon ( or legal heroin ), hiring doctors who prescribe the oxycodon based on their employment or contract relationship with that pharmaceutical drug maker."

Both Rosio and Christ have seen their businesses subjected to search warrants by law enforcement in the last several months. The Montana Pain Management office on South Third Street West shut down several weeks ago, and the state Department of Labor and Industry last month cited the business for nearly $3,000 in 2010 taxes.

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Rosio recently announced a new business named Rosio Caps MT in a Brooks Street building near Kmart. That address is occupied by another medical marijuana business, Green Door Wellness, whose agent is Kraig Michels.

Michels is named, along with Rosio and Montana Pain Management, in a suit filed in November by Delphia Holdings Corp., a medical marijuana grow operation. Delphia claims an MPM board member illegally transferred more than $50,000 from Delphia into the clinic's account.

As in Christ's suit, members of Delphia complained that they "hounded" Rosio for money owed them.

Christ details eight calls allegedly made to Rosio within about an hour and a half on Jan. 3, all seeking payment. Rosio either hung up on him or refused the calls, according to his complaint.

The mailbox for one of Rosio's telephone numbers was full on Monday and other numbers previously listed for him had been disconnected. Christ did not return a telephone call seeking comment about the complaint.

Christ's complaint says that he and Rosio met at Christ's "mass screenings provided ... to thousands of patients in and around Missoula County."

Last year, the two entered a contract that Rosio and MPM would exclusively use Christ's business for recommendations by physicians and for renewing cards, according to the complaint. In December, they allegedly scheduled a clinic at Rosio's office.

Pujol said in a telephone interview that he had no idea Christ was involved in the clinic and that he was called the day before to substitute for a doctor who had canceled.

"If I would have known anything about their connection or that's who I was working for, I sure wouldn't have stepped into that hornet's nest," he said Monday. "It was a good lesson."


NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Pubdate: Mon, 28 Mar 2011
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoulian
Contact: oped@missoulian.com
Website: Missoulian: News And Resources For Western Montana
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Gwen Florio
 
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