Pittsburg approves first ever commercial cannabis permit

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In an anonymous warehouse, in an industrial park, in the heart of Pittsburg, workers will begin manufacturing a wide array of cannabis-based products this fall. (KGO-TV)

A big night for the East Bay city of Pittsburg. For the first time, the city approved a commercial cannabis permit and soon the company's cannabis-based lotions and potions may be available at a dispensary near you.

In a nondescript warehouse, in an industrial park in the heart of Pittsburg, workers will soon begin manufacturing a wide array of cannabis-based products. "Basically topical creams, ointments and lotions and some ingestible products that would be categorized as dietary supplements and sports nutrition type products," explained Richard Fischler, who is the CEO of BioZone which has manufactured these same type of products in Pittsburg, without cannabis, since 1992.

He's also the CEO of Canyon Laboratories which, after a 10 month process, won it's commercial cannabis permit Monday night, with a majority 4-1 vote at city council. Initially, Fischler explains, "The city was very opposed to doing this. there was kind of a misconception on what type of business we were running."

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But city council came around after learning that Canyon Laboratories will be processing cannabis oils, not actual plants or buds. The products will then be delivered out of Pittsburg and distributed to various dispensaries. Fischler says they also worked very closely with the Pittsburg Police Department to ensure their operation and the surrounding business area will be safe and secure.

"I think it's an excellent first step for any city to consider," says Dale Sky Jones who is the chancellor of Oaksterdam University in Oakland, a cannabis college in Oakland. She says the city of Pittsburg stands to gain a lot through Canyon Laboratories, "We have an opportunity to expand on the ability to regulate and tax those activities. The lowest impact activity is manufacturing because you're not bringing in customers, clientelle, traffic abatement, issues like that."

Pittsburg negotiated a sliding tax scale with Canyon Laboratories. If Canyon grosses $10 million for example, the city would get half a million dollars.

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