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Mass. AG Cites Theory Wellness For Underpaying Workers, Pays Out $300K

A police SUV is parked outside of signs for Theory Wellness that declare it open for business.
Josh Landes
/
WAMC

A Berkshire County-based marijuana dispensary is paying hundreds of thousands in restitution and penalties after receiving a citation from the state attorney general.

Theory Wellness opened the county’s first recreational marijuana dispensary in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in January 2019. Attorney General Maura Healey says the company failed to pay 282 employees premium pay for work performed on Sundays and holidays. The Democrat’s office began its investigation in December 2020 following a worker complaint. Theory Wellness has agreed to pay almost $300,000 to resolve the issue.

In a statement, the company told WAMC it worked with Healey’s office in the investigation and claimed that it was able to “provide additional compensation to the former and current members of our team who were affected to resolve this matter swiftly.” It cited difficulties with payroll companies unwilling to provide services due to marijuana remaining federally illegal.

Theory Wellness also has locations in Chicopee and Bridgewater.

You can read Theory Wellness's full statement here:

Theory worked closely and openly with the AG’s office as soon as we were made aware of these inadvertent payroll errors. Most importantly, we had the opportunity to provide additional compensation to the former and current members of our team who were affected to resolve this matter swiftly.

The complexities of a cannabis company are vast with a litany of traditional business-related resources, such as mainstream payroll providers that handle setting up pay rates, unwilling to provide services due to our classification federally. This audit has been an opportunity to correct our policies and reaffirm our commitment to our team members, who make Theory what it is today.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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