Raids Conducted On Sonoma County Pot Businesses

Raids of Care By Design facilities were carried out in a coordinated effort by local authorities and the DEA.

Care By Design produces cannabis sprays, tinctures, oil cartridges through the Absolute Xtracts brand and other products. On Wednesday, several of the company’s facilities were raided in a joint effort by Santa Rosa detectives, members of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office, and agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Santa Rosa Democrat reported that 9 people were seen detained outside of a property in the western part of Santa Rosa.  The paper also confirmed reported that several people were arrested.

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According to Santa Rosa Police Lt. Michael Lazzarini, the companies were operating outside of the law.

“They’ve done nothing official that we could find that makes any of this a legitimate operation,” Lazzarini said.

Care By Design spokesperson, Nick Caston seemed to disagree with the Lieutenant’s assessment and said the company was working with a state authorities in order to create “the gold standard” for companies producing cannabis concentrates.

“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,” he said.

“There’s nothing to indicate that anything here is in line with any regulations in the handling of chemicals or processes, code enforcement, city building permit, the whole list,” Lazzarini said of the raids.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s office began an investigation several days ago after receiving information that Care By Design may have been operating illegally.  Caston claimed a disgruntled employee provided the DA with false information.

Sf Weekly reported that Care By Design consultant Martin Lee said through email that the raid was “under the pretext of looking to bust a butane extraction operation.”

“Those guys never used butane, only CO2,” Lee wrote in the email.

Using butane as an extractor is considered volatile and is not permitted under Sonoma County law.  Many companies have stopped using butane due to consumer demand.  The Co2 process has become much more popular and is considered safer.

One of the organization’s founding patient members, Dennis Hunter, was arrested and charged with felony for manufacturing a controlled substance by chemical extraction and is being held on a $5-million-dollar bond in Sonoma County jail.

A rally in support of Care By Design and Dennis Hunter was expected to be held Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the Sonoma County Superior Courthouse located at 600 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, CA.

Check back with us for updates on this story.

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