ADELANTO — Johnny Salazar, the former commercial cannabis adviser to Adelanto whose disunion with city officials has been widely publicized, is suing the mayor over shuttered dispensaries, singling out Rich Kerr for breaching confidence in an alleged behind-the-scenes agreement.
Salazar has said that Kerr assured him medical marijuana retail stores on Highway 395, and then Bartlett Avenue, would be unbothered as part of Salazar’s self-declared mission to provide relief to veterans and seniors, who also reportedly invested in the stores.
“I fought and fought for this for years,” Salazar said in a pre-recorded message he held to the podium microphone during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
Salazar is seeking $10,000 from Kerr in small claims court for “breach of confidence, swindling, fraud, unfaithfulness and false pretenses,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Daily Press.
Kerr was served by a member of Salazar’s Green Tree Health Healing. The mayor did not specifically address the matter publicly.
But Kerr has previously adamantly denied he was ever complicit in vowing to shield Salazar’s stores from enforcement. Dispensaries were only legalized in June, and four permits have yet to be issued to applicants, of which Salazar is not one.
The final straw for Salazar appeared to be a hearing in February. Then, the city prosecutor laid out evidence to show that Salazar had fraudulently acquired a business license for “wholesale medical marijuana” to run his Bartlett store and reneged on written promises to open merely an information center with accessory sales only.
Salazar was barred, officials say, from selling the product itself even as Kerr had acknowledged a layman could misinterpret the license as allowing him to do so.
Kerr has said he instructed Salazar a week prior to the Bartlett grand opening: “Under no circumstances are you to sell pot. If you sell pot, we’re shutting you down.”
To get news, features and more Cannifornian content delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.
But he did. And authorities soon raided it and shut it down.
Salazar took exception to the insinuation that he forged his license and to being painted as a liar. More so, he pointed to Kerr’s attendance at the Bartlett store’s grand opening as a signal that he had blessings from the top.
“I have you on video in front of my Marines, and my veterans, and Green Tree Health and Healing people,” Salazar said in the recording, “stating … ‘go ahead and sell pot, I guess my code won’t be around or the Sheriff (Department). Looks like maybe we screwed up. You guys just be careful.’”
Salazar said the $10,000 he is seeking was calculated by factoring in time spent, meetings, loans, set-up fees, demolition fees, fines and liens.