California cannabis industry heavyweights file lawsuit in response to federal suit filing

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California marijuana consultant Avis Bulbulyan, California cannabis industry heavyweights file lawsuit in response to federal suit filing

Three former executives claim in a new lawsuit that prominent California marijuana consultant Avis Bulbulyan is a “talented prevaricator” whose “entire professional image is built on a carefully manufactured foundation of deceptions.”

The suit, filed last week by Lance Ott, David Yeager and Steve Baghoomian, alleges Bulbulyan lured them to join his cannabis consultancy, Siva Enterprises, at below-market rates on the false representation that he had raised tens of millions of dollars from investors that included music mogul Quincy Jones.

They further charged that Bulbulyan continued to misrepresent Siva’s fortunes, operations, real-estate holdings and MJ licenses after they came aboard in fall 2017.

The state suit comes less than two months after Bulbulyan filed a federal lawsuit against the three for allegedly taking proprietary data from Siva, starting a rival company, Cirrata Ventures, and siphoning off clients.

The latest suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges deceit, negligent misrepresentation and unfair competition. It asks for unspecified damages and an injunction against Bulbulyan.

Bulbulyan denied the allegations in an email to Marijuana Business Daily.

Ott was previously CEO of Washington state-based Guardian Data Systems and a former board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Yeager served as a global business analyst for Apple Music and, before that, director of content operations for Beats Music, which was acquired by Apple. Baghoomian, an attorney, is a founding executive at Cirrata.

Bulbulyan wrote in an email that the three had “first-hand direct knowledge” that Siva’s project wasn’t funded yet.

“There are a ton of moving parts and components to putting together a $100 million-plus project,” he added. “They’ve taken different pieces of the project from different points in the project’s timeline to paint a ridiculous and inaccurate picture.”

Bulbulyan noted that Ott and others recently made a motion to dismiss his federal lawsuit against them based on the argument that the confidential information they allegedly stole isn’t protected because marijuana is illegal under federal law. He called such an argument from a cannabis company “hypocritical.”

Baghoomian claimed he was fired from Siva in late March for “pointing out Bulbulyan’s and Siva’s frauds;” Ott and Yeager left shortly after,  allegedly because of Bulbulyan’s “misrepresentations, incompetence and temper.”

More details about this situation are available here and here.

Jeff Smith can be reached at