Medical marijuana company leaves Oakland County after raids

Big Daddy’s Management Group — a big player in the medical marijuana industry — emptied the firm’s Oak Park headquarters on Thursday to leave Oakland County. The county’s Narcotics Enforcement Team raided sites Wednesday in Commerce Township, where defense attorneys said 34 caregivers grew the drug in 34 leased and locked units. Adding to the county’s reputation as hostile turf for medical marijuana, the action also showed ratcheting pressure statewide on medical pot.

“We’re going from five locations in the state to four” — in Chesterfield Township, Detroit, Livonia and Burton near Flint, said Big Daddy’s spokesman Rick Thompson. The move from an Oak Park industrial park involves a dozen employees, Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine and a business that marketed indoor cultivation equipment, Thompson said. In the Commerce Township raids of properties called Absolute Herbal Remedies, about two dozen officers burst into buildings on Ruler Drive and Welch Road, making no arrests but seizing about 500 plants and tens of thousands of dollars in growing equipment from 34 individually controlled growing rooms, defense attorneys said.

The growers were operating in strict compliance with state law, and the resulting legal cases will show that police abused their power, attorney Colin Daniels said. “There were no sales or deliveries there,” Daniels said. “These people relied on the section in the law that said patients’ and caregivers’ properties shall not be seized,” attorney Neil Rockind added. But Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the raids were approved by county prosecutors and that officers had search warrants.

“We’ve followed the law, and everything we’ve done has been upheld by the courts” in dozens of previous raids of medical marijuana sites, McCabe said. “This has nothing to do with medical marijuana. It has to do with breaking the law and profiteering from marijuana,” he said.

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