Attorneys on both sides of a Nevada retail cannabis license injunction hearing rested their cases Wednesday after nearly three months of on-and-off testimony, but not before some end-of-day courtroom drama.
While questioning Alfred Terteryan, an executive for Helping Hands Wellness Center — a company that last year received three coveted retail cannabis licenses from the state — plaintiffs’ attorney Dominic Gentile questioned whether Helping Hands is being funded by potentially criminal interests.
“Have you ever heard of ‘Armenian Power’?” Gentile asked Terteryan, an Armenian-American. “Have any of the people who loaned you money been backgrounded by the state of Nevada for purposes of these licenses?”
In December, the state approved 61 conditional licenses out of a competitive pool of more than 460. A group of more than two-dozen rejected applicants earlier this year filed suit in Clark County District Court seeking an injunction — which has essentially brought the 2018 licensing process to a standstill.
Some say the competitive application process was unconstitutional. Some seek a do-over while others want financial damages.
Gentile’s line of questioning apparently referenced a Los Angeles street gang, sometimes known as AP13, according to published reports.
Terteryan — who acts as chief operating officer for Helping Hands and has residences in Southern California and Nevada — quickly dismissed Gentile’s probing into the sources of loans received by Terteryan and his wife, Helping Hands co-owner Klaris Terteryan.
Terteryan testified that his wife had received $1.8 million in loans for the business from “friends and family.”
Attorney Alina Shell objected to Gentile’s line of questioning.
“I really don’t understand what the ethnic backgrounds of people loaning money to the witness has to do with anything,” Shell commented to Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “I’m very concerned about some of the statements made in court, not just