A California Cannabis Company’s Connection to the Impeachment Inquiry

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control says it is looking into a series of cannabis licenses granted to a Ukrainian-born businessman on the fringes of the presidential impeachment scandal.

The cannabis licenses — about a dozen of them — were granted to a partnership involving Andrey Kukushkin over the past year. Kukushkin was recently arrested in connection with an alleged straw donation scheme that included two associates of President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

The men are accused of making foreign straw donations to political candidates, including Donald Trump. Parnas and Fruman are also linked to the impeachment investigation, having reportedly pushed for the ouster of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and helping to arrange a January meeting between Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, and Giuliani to discuss an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Cannabis regulator Lori Ajax said the BCC is now looking over all the licenses Kukushkin was associated with. In light of the indictment against him, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is also calling for a review of his city’s cannabis permitting process.

Despite rules that prohibit licenseholders from owning multiple businesses, Sacramento has issued nearly one-third of its cannabis licenses to Kukushkin or his partner, according to the Los Angeles Times

“The mayor is calling for an immediate investigation and will lead an effort to add additional safeguards to the licensing process,” Steinberg’s office said in a statement.

Sacramento independent city auditor Jorge Oseguera will begin a deep dive into the records to determine what happened. 

Another Kukushkin-linked cannabis business received a permit in Coalinga. The city says it was unaware of the recent indictment.