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California’s Ugliest Legal Cannabis Dispensary Dispute


Weed may calm you down, but operating a legal cannabis business is as stressful as operating any other kind of business. A world where California has a legal cannabis industry still seems rather surreal, but legal cannabis is here to stay, even though the laws in their current state contain plenty of loopholes, contradictions, and ambiguities that can cause all kinds of confusion and disputes for legal growers and distributors of cannabis. As much as weed may be a social lubricant, business partner disputes can happen when you are in the business of selling cannabis just as they can when you are in any other business in California. A Los Angeles cannabis litigation lawyer can help you resolve your legal disputes with regulators or with your own business partners.

Selling Weed in California Is Legal, but Hiring a Hitman to Kill Your Former Business Partner Is Not

At the beginning of California’s legal recreational cannabis boom, Salam Razuki and Ninus Malan jointly owned several legal cannabis businesses in the San Diego area. Razuki and Malan’s business relationship deteriorated, however, and in 2018 Razuki sued Malan for control of the Balboa Avenue Cooperative in Kearny Mesa. While the lawsuit was pending, Razuki allegedly continued to harass Malan by stealing his mail and hiring local gang members to threaten him. Malan eventually filed for a restraining order against Razuki.

As the legal proceedings dragged on, Razuki grew increasingly frustrated with the costs of litigation. Meanwhile, Razuki’s business partnership with Sylvia Gonzales and Elizabeth Juarez continued. In time, Razuki, Gonzales, and Juarez allegedly conspired to hire a hitman to kill Malan. In the early fall of 2018, the conspirators met with the hitman, who said that he would persuade Malan to travel with him to Tijuana, Mexico, where the murder would take place. The hitman requested a $1,000 deposit, and Juarez went to one of the conspirators’ dispensaries and withdrew the money to pay him.

The hitman returned in November 2018 and announced that the dirty deed had been accomplished. As Razuki celebrated, the hitman revealed that he was an FBI informant. Razuki, Gonzalez and Juarez were charged with conspiracy to kill, kidnap and maim an individual, and conspiracy to kidnap. In August 2019, Malan filed a civil lawsuit against Razuki seeking damages for the emotional distress he claims Razuki caused him with the harassment and the murder attempt.

Details about the outcome of the criminal cases against Razuki, Gonzales, and Juarez have not been made public, nor have the results of civil litigation between Razuki and Malan. In civil and criminal courts, cases that go to trial are the exception rather than the rule.

Speak With a Los Angeles Cannabis Litigation Lawyer

A cannabis litigation lawyer can help you if you operate a legal cannabis business and are involved in a legal dispute with a former business partner. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call 424-284-2401.


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