4/20 Ruling: Marketer Can Be Liable For Dispensarys’ TCPA Violations

On April 20, 2020, the Northern California district court ruled on corporate awareness, corporate parenthood, and tcpa compliance for cannabis. The rulings, and the opinion’s timing, has nothing to do with the national holiday for cannabis. Just a judicious wink.

According to the Plaintiffs’ detailed class action complaint: Baker services cannabis companies across North America, booths in various cannabis conventions; apps for dispensaries; and expansive SMS marketing campaigns.  Baker represents that it provides clients with TCPA-compliant privacy policies.  Lead Plaintiffs Komaiko and Cooperman allege that Baker caused cannabis dispensaries to send hundreds of text messages without consent.   

Baker filed a motion to dismiss, and argued that it’s just a platform. The judge disagreed: “Taking the allegations in the complaint as true, Baker is significantly involved in its clients’ marketing efforts, including by collecting contact information, informing dispensary customers of their privacy rights, suggesting content, and storing and sending the messages.”  Komaiko v. Baker Techs., Case No. 19-cv-03795-DMR, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70162 (N.D. Cal. April 20, 2020).

The ruling explained it’s not implausible Baker is not only aware its clients send unsolicited advertising, it supports it.  Baker’s alleged strategies even included how to avoid call-blocking.  That’s not in line with public policy.

Finally, the Court agreed to deny itself jurisdiction over Baker’s parent, partially due to its traceable Canadian lineage. The pressure is on, with more hearings this summer. 

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