California: Santa Rosa Medical Marijuana Company Raided By Federal DEA Agents
By Steve Elliott
The Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed on Wednesday morning by local law enforcement and the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, and financial paperwork.
Care By Design produces an array of medical marijuana products for thousands of patients in California, including patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD and other intractable medical conditions.
Care By Design products are CBD-centric. CBD is a therapeutically beneficial compound that does not get people high, and can moderate the intoxicating effects of THC. Care By Design products are available in non-smokable formulations such as gel caps and oral sprays, and available in a variety of CBD:THC ratios so that patients can manage the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana.
"Contrary to initial press reports, none of the Care By Design facilities are involved in the production of hash; nor is butane used in the company’s extraction process," the company announced in a prepared Wednesday afternoon statement. "Care By Design utilizes a non-volatile supercritical CO2 extraction method, and does not produce any hash, rosin, wax, shatter or similar products that are popular amongst recreational users."
Care By Design announced that the nonprofit company and its affiliates "have worked tirelessly over the past years to ensure that its facilities, employees, company policies and procedures are in full compliance with city, county and state laws. The company has pursued a policy of full transparency, providing dozens of state and local officials with tours of its cultivation and extraction facilities, and administrative offices."
“This law enforcement action is unprecedented, unfortunate, and has the potential to deprive thousands of profoundly sick patients of much needed medicine," said Nick Caston, CBD Guild and Care By Design spokesperson. "We will cooperate fully with law enforcement in an effort to resolve this as quickly as possible, and hope to have our several dozen employees in Sonoma County back to work this week.”
“We produce medicine as determined by the voters in the 1990s, and we do it with the best practices of any company in the state,” Caston said, reports Julie Johnson at the Press Democrat.
The area, and Sonoma County in general, is a hotbed of cannabis extraction due to local expertise and access to prime sources of raw cannabis, reports David Downs at SF Gate But extraction exists in a gray area of the law. The vast majority of California cities and counties have not yet regulated the industrial activity, with state laws taking effect by 2018.
The DEA was present at the raids in an "observational role," law enforcement reports claim.
Santa Rosa Police Lt. Michael Lazzarini claimed, according to Press Democrat reporter Julie Johnson, that “several” people had been arrested and said the operations appear to be illegitimate and in violation of several county codes.
The whole investigation reportedly began with a false tip from a disgruntled former employee.
Photo: Press Democrat