Less than a month after opening, Cathedral City dispensary Citidank – whose green-and-white logo riffs on the signage for Citibanks across the country – is under fire from Citigroup, the bank’s multinational owner.
“Citi isn’t affiliated with this business in any way and we have requested that they stop using Citi’s name and logo,” Citigroup spokesperson Mark Costiglio wrote in an email statement to The Desert Sun.
Citidank founder Armen Harutyuntan declined comment when reached by phone, citing advice from legal counsel.
“I really can’t disclose any information,” he said.
Citidank, which goes by the legal name Cathedral City Releaf, was among the first crop of marijuana dispensaries approved in Cathedral City in the fall of 2016. Its storefront is now one of a few dispensaries operating within walking distance of one another on Perez Road.
The company held its grand opening on March 24 with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. In a video of the event posted on Facebook, the company’s co-owners and a trio of Cathedral City officials stand in front of a large poster of the company’s logo: the word Citidank written in lowercase, green-and-white font with a marijuana leaf crowing the “t.”
Among the group were Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Pettis, Councilmember Mark Carnevale and Councilmember Shelley Kaplan.
In the video, co-owner Ruben Harutyuntan cuts a ribbon. Then, the camera turns to Mayor Pro-Tem Pettis.
“We are thrilled to have you here, I think this is great for the community,” Pettis said. “Any time we can have a new business that brings in employees as well as revenue to the community is always good, and you’re bringing this entire center back to life.”
In a phone interview, Pettis said he didn’t really understand the pun in Citidank when he first heard about the business.
“I didn’t understand why they would choose that name anyway,” he said. “This is a slang term, the dank part…apparently it means something.”
Under its legal name, Cathedral City Releaf, Citidank holds two temporary state licenses to operate as a medicinal and adult-use marijuana retailer.
Citigroup first spoke out publicly about Citidank earlier this week, in response to an inquiry from The New York Post, which asked the multinational investment bank if it had any relation to the one-off marijuana dispensary.