Port Hueneme medical cannabis clinic coming

By George Millermjmalsign

Technically, using cannabis (marijuana) is illegal per federal law. But that is widely flouted, even by the State of California, the largest in the union, which has had legal medical marijuana use for years and has now opened up “recreational” use as well, via a ballot initiative in November, via Proposition 64. Even though technically illegal under federal law, the Obama era Justice Dept. set guidelines which, if followed, they wouldn’t prosecute. California is now in the process of further formalizing regulations for operational, financial and taxation procedures. There is far more public support for medical marijuana than for recreational purposes at this time.

Hueneme Patient Co-Op

Local businessman and President of the Hueneme Patient Co-Op Paul Watson knows all that and has been a medical cannabis specialist for two decades. Watson is in the process of opening up a legal medical cannabis retail facility right here in Port Hueneme, at 501 West Channel Islands Boulevard, unit 302. Watson sounds like an encyclopedia of cannabis business knowledge. As if that level of expertise wasn’t enough, he even brought his consultant to the meeting, who is helping him through the startup process. Watson is a Camarillo resident, family man with kids and is a longtime Hueneme surfer, since childhood.

Doing all this legally and competently is not a trivial task, but he is undertaking just that. There are minefields of regulatory, taxation, accounting, record-keeping, product traceability, security, financial, banking, communications, information technology, customer service and other business needs which must be addressed for legal and business success. The facility won’t be able to open until all government approvals are received. At this point, the only remaining government steps left are for the City to complete its new ordinance to comply with the changes in state law (they are still considering whether to do this), including desired local regulations, then issue a permit to the co-op. In the meantime, Watson is carrying a six figure investment, plus monthly rent, utilities and other expenses- time is money,

Mr. Watson took us on a tour of his under construction facility in Moll Plaza II, in a retail and office area which seems to have a lot of vacancies. It is directly across the road from the sprawling Naval base Ventura County. It consists of a reception/waiting area, showroom, consultation room, storage, administrative and a 3800 sq. ft. growing area (we did not see the latter). The premises are renovated, clean and professional-looking.

Even things like odor control will be addressed. Cannabis has a very distinctive smell, even when not burning. Five carbon scrubbers will each process and clean 745 cubic feet of air per minute, in deference to neighbors.

Start-up costs are anticipated in the low six figures. When I asked Watson what his projected sales might be, he wouldn’t disclose that, but said that local taxes paid alone could be in the $100,000 range – month. We were told that there are three different taxes which vary by product type. They are said to include sales tax/Board of Equalization, state excise tax and a city tax, which total about 27%. That would put projected gross sales in excess of $400,000/month, or $4.8 million annually- larger than a successful MacDonald’s franchise– but with far lower calories. This explains why at least some governmental entities seem so enthusiastic about the prospects of the cannabis business, although Prop. 64 was hard-fought against by law enforcement and health agencies.

 

Products

mjgummy

mjtinctureFor those who think that they might just be selling little generic baggies of weed, think again. There are quite a few different products, potencies and formulations. Just to give you a bit of an idea, there are:

  • Smokables, with various levels of THC  and other active ingredients. These vary based on what they are being used to treat
  • tablets- some people prefer this to smoking. People with asthma and certain other ailments cannot tolerate smoking.
  • Tincture
  • “Gummies”
  • Plants- some people prefer to buy seedlings and grow their own, within legal limits and not for resale

Each of the product types above, except the plants, which will all be high CBD, non-THC ones, have varying degrees of potency, THC, CBD and dosage size. CBD products are lacking in psychoactive properties and are typically used to deal with cancer, inflammation and anxiety.

The product is all required to be tested by licensed laboratories specializing in cannabis.

 

Dispensing

MJHuenemeCoopShowroom

Nearly completed Hueneme Patient Co-Op showroom, which will house numerous medicinal cannabis products for easy customer viewing. Consultation, registration, storage and growing spaces are adjacent.

The co-op will initially only provide product to members of the co-op, with lab-tested product from approved testing laboratories. The member/patient must be a California resident, and must have a valid and verifiable doctor’s recommendation. Once that is done, then patients consult with a knowledgeable co-op person on what the most appropriate product and dosage is. Complete records will be kept on all of this including what is sold, to whom and when.

Mr. Watson believes that their patient consultations are a very important value-added service. Educating patients is key to success. Typically, he added, doctors do not fully understand the full range of products and how best to match them to patients and their problems to be addressed. With decades of experience, co-op people do. He emphasized that each person has different needs and reacts differently. He tends to be very conservative, with smaller doses, which could later  be increased if needed. I observed how many more reported hospitalizations for marijuana have resulted in Colorado since legalization. Watson then pointed out that such overdoses are due to excessive ingestion, make people sick, but are not toxic like hard drug overdoses. He is especially careful with new, inexperienced users.

Product information sheet are available to patients and prospective patients, along with consultations after registration.

People need to avoid driving or operating certain equipment when using cannabis products (except CBD), though, just like they would with any intoxicant, whether it be alcohol or drugs. Customers will not be permitted to consume the product on the premises or in the immediate area.

Mr Watson noted that when they first started preparing the facility, they noted the presence of drug dealing and prostitution in back of the building in the parking area. They have succeeded in having that eliminated, he said -and intend to be very good neighbors.

 

Plant Growing Operation

cannabisgrowing

Another growing operation- not Hueneme Co-op

The co-op intends to grow certain high CBD, low THC plants (THC is a psychoactive substance, for getting “high”) for selected medicinal applications. State law says that they can have up to six plants per patient. When I asked about the scope of the operation, I was told that they could grow up to 5000 plants, with about 200 growing lights, which could cost $4000-5000/month just to operate. These plants also require water, nutrients and other substances.

Plant cultivation is a sepate business by itself, requiring not only agricultural skills, but those of business, legal and manufacturing/distribution/information technology. The total cycle time to finished product runs about 5 months, through seedling, growing, drying and processing/packaging. So considerable value-added inventory must be carried during that cycle as a cost of doing business. Each plant will be bar coded and scanned/tracked and traced back from the original plant through the manufacturing and distribution process to specific customers/orders.

 

Security

mjhuenemecoopwaitingroom

Secured Hueneme Patrient Co-op waiting room with armored reception booth

A high value product such as cannabis might present some security problems with both theft and behavior. So co-op management is taking extensive steps to deal with that. The upstairs, very secured location will avoid some of the problems that a more visible street-level storefront operation might have. Per Mr. Watson, two security guards will secure the facility and immediate surrounding area. The entrance will be locked with people buzzed in. The reception booth is armored and the inside entrance to the showroom and consultation areas is also secured. Products will be heavily secured when the facility is closed. Security cameras will be used to monitor the premises and immediate area. Auditing and tracking procedures will help detect theft. Other security measures will not be disclosed here.

 

mjhuenemecopsign

 

MJCannabisMan

Different active ingredients in various types of cannabis and what they are believed to address


George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard


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8 Responses to Port Hueneme medical cannabis clinic coming

  1. bhomberz Member May 7, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    They gonna get their fix regardless.. Everybody gots they own way of dealing with life.. If its not harming you.. Why u so concerned.. Let people Live! One Life! Remember!

    Reply
  2. Mark Savalla March 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    If this thing passes maybe they could add the requirement that the city council make public their tax returns for each year cannabis is sold in PH. Maybe they could add in the law that the city council report all income or financial investments in the cannabis trade. Just to be “transparent”.

    Reply
  3. William Conrad March 30, 2017 at 11:49 am

    ” and a provisioning of a gateway drug to heroin, cocaine and other drugs.”

    The gateway “theory” has been thoroughly debunked in numerous studies (Google it if you like). If you want to continue promoting harmful prohibitionist arguments you’ll need to find something other than this. Otherwise, instead of an unregulated black market, why not have it controlled and taxed.

    Also, for the record, states that have legalized marijuana have seen drops in opioid overdoses — not increases.

    Sorry to argue you with facts.

    Reply
  4. Jodi Mott February 6, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I personally can’t wait to have a local dispensary.
    I don’t drive, and I have a number of illness that cannibals has helped not just with the pain, but let me live a life. It’s very difficult for me to get a ride to the valley to a dispensary. I can’t even stress how important it is for me, as a elder women, to be able to have local access to my medication.

    I have met Paul, at city council meetings and had long discussions with him. He not only is an expert concerning cannabis, he has a genuine interest, in not just helping me get the right medication and care.

    Reply
  5. Juan M February 6, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Marijuana is clearly not a gateway drug, I’m 40 years old Mark and I’ve been smoking since I was 13 years old. Never had I had the urge to try heroine or any other drug, I own a successful electrical business and Marijuana helps me cope with all the stress a business causes at the end of the day. Instead of bashing on the past you should think about the present and really worry about Donald Dump better.

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter February 6, 2017 at 9:15 am

      .. and your problem with this is? ….

      on October 29, 2015, then Candidate Trump told the Washington Post: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. And of course, you have Colorado. There’s a question as to how it’s all working out there, you know? That’s not going exactly trouble-free.”

      Reply
  6. Mark Savalla February 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Very articulate article. The bottom line is that there will be increased crime in the area, more “under the influence” drivers on the road, and a provisioning of a gateway drug to heroin, cocaine and other drugs. Medical Marijuana if allowed should be dispensed by doctors not the Communist Progressive business oriented.

    Just because the voters allowed this to happen doesn’t mean it is a good thing. Look what happened with Obama.

    Reply

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