One of the first state-approved cannabis distributors in California will carry the red, gold, and green flag.
Marley Natural — the venture capital-backed cannabis brand licensed by the heirs of reggae legend Bob Marley — received approval to open a cannabis processing and distribution center in Santa Rosa this week.
California’s Medical Marijuana Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act requires all cannabis products to pass through a state-licensed distribution center before reaching retail shelves. On Tuesday, city officials in the Sonoma County city gave the green light to Marley Natural to open a “processing, manufacturing, and distribution center” in a business park, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
With its easy access to cannabis-producing regions via US-101 and its proximity to population centers in the Bay Area, Santa Rosa is an ideal center for cannabis commerce. At least, city officials hope so.
Marley Natural is the first cannabis business to receive city approval under interim zoning rules meant to encourage marijuana businesses. Other major cannabis brands, including Cannacraft’s Care By Design and AbsoluteXtracts, also do business in the city — despite a June raid by local law enforcement on its property.
Marley Natural’s move represents a push to control several stages of the supply chain.
Various strains of cannabis and other cannabis- and hemp-derived products under the Marley Natural label went on sale in California in April. The brand launched in Oregon earlier this week, and there are plans to expand to Washington.
The company licenses existing growers to produce outdoor cannabis under the Marley Natural label.
Privateer Holdings, the cannabis venture capital fund launched following a $75 million investment from Peter Thiel‘s Founders Fund, is based in Seattle. In addition to investing in Marley Natural, Privateer has also sunk capital into cannabis information website Leafly.
For now, Santa Rosa is the planned headquarters of its California operations. The company plans to employ up to 40 people there, the newspaper reported, and obtain state license as soon as they become available in 2018.
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