On May 6, Grover Beach City Council approved a commercial cannabis permit for volatile manufacturing at Lab Tested Grover Beach LLC.
The City Council first adopted amendments to the commercial cannabis laws to include this sort of manufacturing in May 2018. Known as Type 2 manufacturing, volatile solvents like butane and propane are used to produce medicinal and adult-use cannabis products for distribution.
"We've always wanted to have a legal place to do volatile extraction, and the fact that Grover Beach is allowing that is pretty special," said Lab Tested owner Max Poswillo.
Those extractions are set to happen in a special room that Poswillo described as "essentially a big wind tunnel where all the electrical [wiring] is intrinsically safe and won't cause an explosion. So all the piping is fretted, you can only use classified electronics in there, I've got static-proof coating on the floor, and you can't bring anything that isn't rated for that environment."
To get the building up to code for volatile solvent extraction, the staff report stated that Lab Tested was required to obtain a preliminary report from a certified industrial hygienist. The report outlines the standard operating procedures of manufacturing cannabis with volatile solutions and the building construction methods that will ensure the safety of workers and the surrounding buildings and residences.
The Five Cities Fire Authority approved the report, and before Lab Tested can start manufacturing, the hygienist, fire chief, and fire personnel must perform a walk-through of the facility and conduct a trial run of the extraction process. The Grover Beach Police Department will also be present for the walk-through and is working with Lab Tested to ensure the security and operations plans are up to code, according to a city staff report.
Since January 2018, the City Council and the Planning Commission have approved 26 commercial cannabis permits, according to Rafael Castillo, a senior planner with the city's Community Development Department. Currently, there are five cannabis businesses under construction in Grover Beach: two manufacturing sites, two manufacturing/distribution sites, and one retail site. They all are slated to be open by the end of this summer.