The Cannifornian reports on something that looks like a lack of thinking initially but it doesn’t take long to find out how Rukli got that monopoly
In December, the City Council granted Rukli an exclusive agreement to transport cannabis in the city. In a 3-2 vote earlier this month, the council amended the approvals for all 15 of the city’s marijuana businesses, including Rukli’s.
The complaint, filed in March by lawyer Bradley Pierce on behalf of resident Oscar Cereceres and Dusko Dan Meic, who also had applied to operate a marijuana distribution business in Baldwin Park but was rejected, seeks to have the city’s agreement with Rukli frozen or nullified.
Baldwin Park CEO Shannon Yauchzee declined to comment last week and instead directed questions from this publication to City Attorney Robert Tafoya, who did not respond to requests for comment.
Although the city has approved Rukli to operate, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control needs to sign off on the deal and is certain to overrule it because the agreement represents an illegal monopoly, forcing all marijuana cultivators and manufacturers in Baldwin Park to transport their products through Rukli, according to the lawsuit.
It all adds up to a colossal financial bust, the lawsuit said.
“The city will not obtain any revenues from distribution operations, despite numerous businesses willing to pay the high fees accompanying a license and development agreement,” the lawsuit read. “This will also decrease revenues of other cannabis-related businesses, as they will not be able to distribute their product.”
The lawsuit also takes issue with the way the businesses were approved, specifically that the city Planning Commission didn’t review any of the 15 development agreements, including Rukli’s, before the City Council approved their preliminary versions in December.
When pressed at the April 18 council meeting to opine whether Rukli represents a monopoly, Tafoya hedged.
“I would not use the word monopoly, but we are forcing 14 other companies to use this company,” Tafoya said at the meeting
The lawsuit references a $4,400 donation Councilwoman Monica Garcia received for her state Senate campaign from Rukli CEO Sharone Bershatski as evidence of collusion between the council and the distributor.