Cannabis sparks offshoot businesses

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Testing labs, LED lighting, labeling, waste disposal service and dispensaries.

Marijuana legalization is helping launch a flurry of new businesses in municipalities across Monterey County.

A few examples from recent months:

  • SC Labs, a cannabis testing lab, hung a shingle in Salinas;
  • Gaiaca, the cannabis waste disposal company launched in Del Rey Oaks;
  • Grupo Flor, a Salinas investment company that focuses on growers and cannabis-centric businesses, is ramping up with a hiring spree including three chief operating officers; and
  • Altai Brands, a cannabis edibles company based in Salinas, continues to hire for a wide variety of jobs, said CEO Rob Weakley.
  • “I think it’s great because a lot of people only saw the direct impact of jobs and into the economy and didn’t see all of the supplemental jobs and opportunities when it comes to packaging and lab testing and recycling,” Weakley said.

    There’s not a forecast for the number of new jobs, but it’s clear the industry could boost the economy.

    In Salinas alone, the cannabis industry is expected to generate tax revenue of $500,000 the first year (the 2017-18 fiscal year), roughly $1 million to $2 million the year after and as much as $3 million in the subsequent years, said the city’s finance director, Matt Pressey.

    This week Salinas will issue eight business permits to as many companies, and city council members will vote on whether to expand the number of permits from three to five in the categories of manufacturing, dispensary, and cultivation. No permits will be issued to delivery services.

    Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter said while the city is approaching the fledgling industry with a wait-and-see attitude, the city can use the jobs.

    “We have people bringing in lighting or automatic watering systems — you know, it’s something we’re going to have to deal with the coming of recreational marijuana,” Gunter said. “Economically wise, I think when there are jobs it’s important …. If you bring in a lighting company that can’t hurt us. These are jobs that are good and we have people that are smart, people who are looking for jobs. A lot of these jobs will be better-paying than others.”

    The city’s application process for cannabis business permits states that applicants who guarantee a higher wage to employees — specifically 200 percent of a living wage — would receive extra points in being considered. Gunter said a living wage is a minimum of $20 an hour.

    Contact Government Reporter Amy Wu at 831-737-6791 or awu@thecalifornian.com. Follow Wu on Twitter @wu_salnews or www.facebook.com/amywucalifornian.

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