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Colo. CBD Co. Accuses Reporter Of Defamation


By Sam Reisman

Law360 (October 31, 2019, 6:27 PM EDT) -- Colorado CBD manufacturer Folium Biosciences has filed
a New York federal complaint accusing a journalist of defaming the company through her reporting in
a deliberate attempt to sabotage the business.

Whole Hemp Co., which does business as Folium and bills itself as the largest vertically integrated
manufacturer of hemp-derived cannabidiol oil in North America, said in the Wednesday filing that
freelance finance reporter Teri Buhl was a “paid shill and hack writer” who was commissioned by
disgruntled former Folium employees to publish material smearing the company and its CEO and
founder, Kashif Shan.

The complaint alleges that an article Buhl filed in August for Cannabis Law Report, which reported on
a lawsuit that fired Vice President Dean Takio had filed against Folium, was “transparently biased”
and riddled with false statements attributed to unnamed and uncorroborated sources.

Buhl denied all of the accusations on Thursday and told Law360 that the lawsuit was a tactic to
intimidate her as she prepared to publish another article about the company.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to obtain the name of my whistleblower sources and it won't
work,” she said.

The complaint alleges that Buhl’s efforts to investigate alleged malfeasance at the company, including
contacting Folium customers and employees and making public appeals for sources to step forward,
constituted harassment and tarnished the company’s reputation and damaged its dealings.

“Buhl’s statements have harmed and threatened further harm to plaintiffs’ relationships with
investors, marketing partners and the livelihood of Folium’s over 200 employees,” according to the
complaint.

“By falsely suggesting and repeating lies that various Folium employees have committed criminal
acts, Buhl’s defamatory statements have also decreased Folium’s value as a going concern and
threaten to further decrease Folium’s value in any potential future transaction,” the complaint said.

The complaint alleges that terminated Folium executives Takio, Juanita Ramos and Brandon Young —
each of whom is suing the company in Colorado state court claiming they are owed an equity interest
in the firm — enlisted Buhl in a coordinated effort to publicly disparage the company and its
principals.

The ex-employees are represented in their Colorado actions against Folium by Fortis Law Partners
LLC, which Folium’s complaint implicates in the alleged conspiracy to defame the company. The ex-
employees and their attorneys are not named as defendants. Takio and his attorneys at Fortis Law
did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday

Buhl told Law360 that the allegation that she had been hired to write negative stories by former
Folium employees or their counsel was “absolutely not true.”

In an email, Buhl said, “Cannabis Law Report has commissioned me to report on the alleged
misconduct at Folium Biosciences. Apparently the company is extremely worried about the witnesses
I have interviewed and internal documents we have obtained and is now trying to intimidate a
professional journalist for doing her job with a vexing lawsuit.”

Folium and co-plaintiff Shan allege defamation, tortious interference and injurious falsehoods. They
are seeking an injunction and more than $10 million in damages.

Counsel for Folium did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Sean Hocking, editor for Cannabis Law Report, said he had no comment but confirmed that Buhl was
working on another story about Folium.

Buhl told Law360 she had not yet retained counsel but had applied for legal assistance from the
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a nonprofit that provides journalists with free legal
services.

Folium is represented by Craig Weiner, Ofer Reger and Reena Jain of Robins Kaplan LLP.

The case is Whole Hemp Company LLC, et al. v. Teri Buhl, case number 1:19-cv-10073, in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

--Editing by Jill Coffey.

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