A third party – and second partner – with ties to Cookies has filed a lawsuit against the co-founders and executives behind the popular cannabis brand alleging that a business deal went very sour.
The latest allegations are laid out in a lawsuit filed July 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorneys representing H n V Holdings, the parent company of Seed Junky, a California genetics company.
In 2019, Cookies and Seed Junky partnered on a separate genetics brand called Minntz, the lawsuit claims, 51% of which was owned by Cookies and 49% by Seed Junky.
But Cookies executives “abused their power … to cook Minntz’s books to Seed Junky’s detriment” and “line their pockets at Minntz’s and Seed Junky’s expense,” the lawsuit alleges.
Cookies also “stole Minntz’s proprietary cannabis genetics, mislabeled them, and fraudulently sold them as Cookies’ own product and/or provided them to Cookies affiliated cultivators in exchange for lucrative kickbacks and priority treatment,” the lawsuit adds.
Among the parties named in the lawsuit, which claims breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and violations of California business law, are:
- Cookies Creative Consulting.
- Cookies SF.
- Company co-founder and CEO Gilbert Milam Jr., better known as rapper Berner.
- Parker Berling, the company’s less-visible president, who also served as the sole member of the Minntz management board, according to the suit.
- Lesjai Peronnet Chang, a Cookies co-founder and prominent breeder better known as Jai.
- Ian Habernicht, Cookies’ chief financial officer.
Hearings in the case are scheduled for September and October, according to the public court docket.
The two parties traded barbs on social media after the lawsuit was filed.
In an Instagram post Wednesday, Seed Junky founder Anthony Hart, also known as JBeezy, said he and a partner were “sold a dream which never materialized.”
“We tried our best to be patient and humble despite the obvious issues we were dealing with … but now accountability must happen,” Hart wrote.
“Not only for us but also to let everyone know in this industry you must be willing to be ethical partners and break bread.”
In a rebuttal, Berner called the lawsuit “completely false” and also took a few jabs.
He referenced Seed Junky’s partnership with Glass House Group, co-founded by a former police officer; accused Seed Junky of selling clones infected with hop latent viroid; and said Hart’s brand “failed.”
“Dude’s been crying like a little b**** on Instagram for a long time, throwing subliminals,” Berner said in a video.
“When we met, we brought a lot of value together. We killed it together. We were aligned. You chose to go do your own thing.
“You went off to go do Seed Junky with somebody else, and you failed. You failed, bro, you failed. Seed Junky did not pop.”
Seed Junky’s suit is at least the third instance of a former brand partner suing Cookies this year.
The exact details vary from lawsuit to lawsuit, but the broad allegations against the company follow a similar pattern, with Cookies executives reneging on agreements to enrich themselves, the suits allege.
One suit, filed by a Florida-based company that partnered with Cookies to manufacture and distribute Cookies-branded delta-8 products, was settled out of court after it drew media attention.
Another, filed by Cookies investors, is still pending.
The suits amount to “a pattern and practice of illicit activity,” Seed Junky’s lawsuit claims.