Cannabis Businesses Swept Up in National Political Scandal

SACRAMENTO – Several licensed businesses and the city’s licensing process are under investigation by the City of Sacramento, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a burgeoning political-influence-peddling scandal that germinated in Washington, D.C.

Sacramento began investigating after federal authorities indicted Ukraine-born businessman Andrey Kukushkin alongside Rudolph Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Giuliani is President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and implicated in an alleged quid pro quo arrangement between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents that is now the subject of a congressional impeachment inquiry.


Kukushkin, Parnas, and Fruman are accused of attempting to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections—specifically, by making illegal contributions to politicians in Nevada, New York, and other states in order to gain influence over cannabis licensing decisions.

Kukushkin is an investor in Sacramento-based Capitol Compliance Management, which owns eight of the city’s thirty licensed dispensaries. California Secretary of State records list Kukushkin and CCM Chief Executive Officer Garib Karapetyan as officers of at least two other cannabis-related corporations: the dispensary Twelve Hour Care, or THC, and the defunct management and consulting firm Legacy Botanical Company LLC.

City and state authorities and the FBI are investigating whether corruption was involved in issuing any of CCM’s licenses or THC’s.