Mike Harlington, chair of the Hemp Trades Assocation UK Ltd, has made a series of demands through solicitors that are absurd and completely unenforceable. He seems to think he has some sort of authority to determine which businesses may join CannaPro. We also have multiple reports of him theatening businesses that if they join CannaPro he will take steps against them, either by interfering with their supply chain or some other unlawful action.
Of course this is nothing new. He has a long record of using threats, intimidation and bullying against small businesses. We are in the process of gathering witness statements and if appropriate he will be reported to the police, Trading Standards and the Registrar of Companies.
CannaPro sent its response by email:
Dear Mr Jappie,
I am responding to your letter of 13th March 2019 and your email of 20th March 2019 both of which you sent on behalf of Hemp Trades Association UK Ltd (HTA).
I preface my responses with three points:
a. As you are fully aware, your client uses the name ‘Cannabis Trades Association UK’ unlawfully. The name is my personal intellectual property, was originated by me in September 2016 and has been in continual use by me ever since. All my rights and remedies in respect of this remain reserved and damages accrue on a daily basis for as long as the infringement continues.
b. Your letter consists of nothing but false, vexatious and dishonest statements. It is worthy of nothing but ridicule. You should understand that it is solely as a personal courtesy to you and the directors of HTA, excluding Mike Harlington, that I respond at all.
c. As a solicitor and an officer of the court, you have duty to ensure the veracity of your instructions. Clearly, you are instructed by Mike Harlington who is a pathological liar, a confidence trickster and a fraudster who consistently uses unlawful and deceitful methods to advance his interests. This description is conclusively supported by a large quantity of documentary evidence which will, if necessary, be supported by witness statements. I have no doubt that you will, in due course, as have all his other previous business associates, come to understand the truth in this. I advise you to protect your own and the other directors of HTA’s interests.
I now deal with each paragraph in your letter.
1. Businesses listed on the Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro) website have been certified by CannaPro and on each occasion this process has been confirmed by email correspondence between the parties. Your client has no role, rights, authority or relevance in the matter. As a courtesy, I can confirm that at no time has any CannaPro Certified Business owned by any director of your client company made any such representation. Your assertion is entirely false.
2. I resigned from the Hemp Trades Association Ltd by an email sent to all the directors on 16th October 2018. That email was acknowledged by Chris Lambert Dowell, a director of HTA, the same day. Once again your assertion is entirely false.
3. My Facebook group under the name Cannabis Trades Association UK was created before the incorporation of HTA and before Harlington or any of the other current directors had any involvement in a trade association for the industry. It is the original publication of the name and purpose of the CTA which HTA seeks unlawfully to hijack. I have not posted any false and misleading information about the HTA. Once again your assertions are entirely false.
4. I have not made any groundless attacks of any nature against Mike Harlington. All statements I have made about him are truthful and/or honest opinion and can be supported by evidence.
5. None of the directors of HTA have contacted me at all in respect of any of the matters you refer to with the sole exception of an undated letter received by email on 21st February 2019 which purports to come from [email protected] but which is transparently authored by Mike Harlington as it is full of his characteristic grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. It makes a series of ridiculous statements which are completely contradicted by personal conversations I have had with directors of HTA both before and since its receipt. In summary, it is just another item of incredible, illiterate Harlington nonsense.
6. Your allegations about my conduct, CannaPro and a “veneer of legitimacy” are nothing but abuse which as a lawyer should be way beneath you.
7. I absolutely refuse to comply with any of your absurd and ridiculous demands. I would welcome the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses before a court in response to any proceedings you choose to bring. In fact, I invite you to issue such proceedings which will result in a substantial counterclaim including but not limited to damages for infringement of my intellectual property as referred to above.
8. Irrespective of your threats and intimidation, which I accept are at the behest of Mike Harlington, I shall continue to comment and publish as I see fit on any subject I wish to. The only damage caused to the CBD industry in this regard is by maintaining Mike Harlington in office as chair of HTA. He is a thoroughly disreputable individual who brings shame on everyone who provides him with any legitimacy. I refer you to and repeat my remarks about him in c. above. However, I maintain good relationships with several of the other directors of HTA with whom I have met recently and I will not allow Harlington or your preposterous attempt at some sort of legal intervention to interfere with these.
9. As regards your email of 20th March 2019, in which you demand removal of the names of CannaPro Certified Businesses from its website, this is refused. Whether any of these businesses are also members of HTA is irrelevant. They have all been certified by CannaPro as set out in 1. above and your client has no rights or relevance in the matter whatsoever.