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Commerce Cannabis Mega-Factory Gearing Up for Federal Legalization

By Phil Lavelle, Reuters
Edited by HMG-CN

April 19, 2022 ~The company behind a cannabis mega-factory in California is hoping federal legalization will allow it to expand the distribution of joints, oils and edibles beyond the borders of the U.S.’ most populous state.
California legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, but it remains on the federal list of controlled substances.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on April 1 to end the federal ban on marijuana, though the measure is seen as unlikely to pass the Senate.
Joshua Krane, vice president of operations for cannabis operator 4Front, said the company’s 170,000-square-foot manufacturing and processing space outside of Los Angeles could supply the U.S. west coast with cannabis products if restrictions are lifted.
With a machine that can roll 2,000 joints per hour and a kitchen capable of producing 400,000 pieces of candy in a single shift, the factory in Commerce is ready for the demand to continue.
“This facility was designed to be future-proof for us to serve the entire California market. Once we can transport cannabis and sell cannabis across state lines, we can service the entire West Coast,” he said.
Krane said that the factory, which opened in November 2021, is operating at 20-25% of capacity.
“As we see the natural ramp-up of the industry, that will likely meet an additional demand curve as we get into federal legalization,” he added. “And so we would continue to ramp up more and more production from this building for the state and this side of the country.”
Krane said the highly automated facility is the largest in California. It manufactures both in-house and partner brands, including oils, tinctures and several types of candies.
Edible items are the most popular, and demand has soared since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, Krane said.
“It’s been somewhat difficult to keep up with the additional demand for manufacturing enough for those new customers. There’s been a tremendous pivot from alcohol and other vices to cannabis.”
In March 2020, as lockdowns went into effect, sales of recreational cannabis across crucial U.S. markets rose almost 50% from a year earlier, according to cannabis point of sale and data platform Flowhub.

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