A small crowd gathered outside Viola Extracts’ cultivation facility for a morning press conference on the banks of the Detroit River July 13. Inside, however, the warehouse was mostly empty.
More than a month prior, on May 29, Detroit police executed a search warrant and arrested six workers inside the facility. Police officers, in conjunction with U.S. Border Patrol agents, confiscated more than 100 lbs. of cannabis. The six were arraigned June 1 in Michigan’s 36th District Court.
Attorneys for the company told local reporters that Viola Extracts had obtained its temporary cannabis business permit from the city of Detroit. Viola investor Al Harrington, a former NBA star and longtime industry advocate, told Cannabis Business Times, “We're a company that's doing everything by the books. … They just decided to completely disregard all the paperwork that our company spent a lot of time obtaining.”
A spokesperson at the city’s Law Department confirmed to Cannabis Business Times that Viola Extracts had been granted zoning approval for its medical marihuana business (the “marihuana” spelling is a characteristic of the regulated Michigan market). Such approval is a prerequisite for earning a state license.