BY JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County law enforcement agencies raided a half-dozen properties associated with a local nonprofit cannabis oil company called Care By Design Wednesday morning, including a large laboratory at a west Santa Rosa business park.
Santa Rosa Police Lt. Michael Lazzarini said that “several” people had been arrested on drug possession charges during the coordinated searches at businesses at Circadian Way and Standish Avenue, a nursery at a rural property on Irwin Lane and residences in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.
“They’ve done nothing official that we could find that makes any of this a legitimate operation,” Lazzarini said.
But a spokesman with Care By Design, a well-known brand of products infused with cannabis oils, said that they are a legal business and have been working with state regulator to “set the gold standard” for how concentrated cannabis manufacturing.
“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,” Nick Caston said.
Caston said they were “pursuing” a Santa Rosa permit under the city’s new program for commercial medical marijuana production.
Lazzarini described the lab at Circadian Way as massive and “professional” looking but said it had a wide variety of code violations that city code enforcement officers and the fire marshal were investigating.
“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.
The investigation began several days ago when the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office received information that made officials question the legality of the business, Lazzarini said. Caston said that they suspect a disgruntled former employee made a false complaint to law enforcement.
Santa Rosa police teamed up with Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents to conduct coordinated searches of at least six properties in the city and county affiliated with the group, Lazzarini said.
At least nine people were detained on an outside curb outside at a rural Irwin Lane property in west Santa Rosa while police and deputies searched a warehouse and several large greenhouses.