SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Just within the city limits of Santa Rosa, stands a symbol of the new green economy created by the legalization of recreational pot.
Dennis Hunter’s company — Cannacraft — is the largest cannabis manufacturing operation in the United States producing a line of products. Before January 1st, Hunter’s company’s massive greenhouse grew pot for the medical marijuana industry.
Now, if you are consuming a marijuana concentrate, it’s very likely it was produced by Cannacraft.
“It’s the end of us looking over our shoulder, wondering if the doors are gonna be kicked in,” he said of the new California law.
But Hunter doesn’t expect the California marketplace to see the explosive growth Colorado underwent when recreational pot became legal there.
“I definitely think we’re gonna see more (customers),” he said “But not a five-fold increase like we saw in Colorado.”
While dispensaries around the state have reported lines of customers during the first two weeks, the size of the potential California market is still up for debate.
One of the factors is the taxes being placed on the purchases.
“Generally we’re letting people know that they can expect 10 to 30 percent higher price with the taxes,” said Andrew DeAngelo from Oakland’s Harborside Health Center which opened its doors for legal recreational pot sales on Jan. 1.
Aside from the economic factor, there are also health and safety concerns being raised.
The California Highway Patrol has been training its officers on how to spot ‘high’ drivers.
“The message today – DUI doesn’t just mean booze,” said Rhonda Craft, head of California’s Office of Traffic Safety.
UCSF Professor of Medicine Stanton Glantz says the impact on public health has been overlooked in the rush to make recreational pot legal.
“The public health perspective was really completely absent from the people who were putting the money up to and controlling the process of writing the (recreational pot) initiative.”
But some health concerns were baked into the new law — namely in regards to quality control. Which means now is a very good time to be working at Steep Hill Labs in Oakland.
“In a regulated environment, all roads lead through testing,” said Tony Daniel who helps run the lab. “We need more square footage, more people, more equipment, we’re staffing up rapidly.”
Marijuana distributors have turned to private labs because the state lacks the capacity to test all the products coming to market.
“This is a complicated industry,” Daniels told KPIX 5. “The equipment is incredibly complex, the staffing requires a high level of expertise and scientific training.”
So while there is a boom in the Green Economy, it will take time for it to mature and develop.