Illegal marijuana operation shut down in Detroit

Lounge operators receive jailtime, several fines

Green Life Lounge's four locations first hit Detroit's radar in 2019. Owners Gregory and Racquel cook were issued several emergency closure notices. "They defied all the rules, all the fines; I mean, they made a lot of money.," said Vernal Newson. "It wasn't much for them to ignore the city and continue."

DETROIT – An unlicensed marijuana operation has officially been shut down in Detroit after the operators received several closure notices and reportedly violated a consent agreement with police.

Green Life Lounge’s four locations first hit Detroit’s radar in 2019. Since Detroit police became aware of the operation, lounge owners Gregory and Racquel Cook were issued several emergency closure notices.

“They defied all the rules, all the fines; I mean, they made a lot of money,” said Vernal Newson. “It wasn’t much for them to ignore the city and continue.”

Newson, who’s with the Detroit Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit, says there’s also a massive advantage for an unlicensed business.

“Without regulation, they could charge whatever amount they want to charge,” Newson said. “(They) may undercut the actual honest businesses in the area.”

“When you have unlicensed activity, anything goes,” said Douglas Baker of the Detroit Law Department.

The DPD eventually brought in the city’s law department on the case, and in 2021, they reached a consent agreement with the Cooks -- which a judge ruled they violated, resulting in jail time for both.

“We’re determined to stop illegal conduct where we have these rogue businesses that have no licenses, no pretense of a license, and just setting up shop,” Baker said.

The DPD says it confiscated illegal drugs and guns, and if jail time isn’t a deterrent, the 17 fines should be.

“That’s 17 times $10,000 or $25,000,” Newson said. “So he will soon get the message.”

The Cooks received a combined 104 days in jail, with Greg Cook accounting for 90 days and Racquel Cook accounting for 14.

The DPD had an excellent assist in learning about the Cooks illegal operation. Whenever they would re-open, neighbors were often calling to report them. The Cooks would also post on social media to advertise that they were open for business.

About the Authors:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.