All-female edible cannabis manufacturer obtains Berkeley permit


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Om Edibles, an all-female-run collective that manufactures medicinal cannabis, has received a permit to operate in Berkeley.

The collective has been producing medicinal cannabis for dispensaries across California from the Bay Area since 2008. The local permit is a “precursor” to the state permit, which Om Edibles plans to apply for in January 2018, according to Om Edibles owner Maya Elisabeth.

California Proposition 64, which will legalize recreational cannabis sales in California beginning January 2018, has motivated new changes within the cannabis industry, and the city of Berkeley released a set of emergency regulations last week. The regulations include rules regarding license applications for manufacturers.

“Regulations are full of details and technicalities. It’s not necessarily how I pictured the energy and spirit of the plant,” Elisabeth said.

Elisabeth said she still has the potential to be “pleasantly surprised” by the decisions made in California, which have not been as strict as the ones made in Colorado. California’s growers and manufacturers, Elisabeth said, have more time to “get compliant” with regulations.

Berkeley currently has at least five approved medical cannabis manufacturers, according to Elizabeth Greene, secretary of the Berkeley Cannabis Commission. The permit process for medicinal cannabis manufacturers is the same as the process for other “light manufacturers,” according to Greene.

“The one exception is that medical cannabis manufacturers can only sell their products on a wholesale basis to dispensaries,” Greene said in an email. “Direct retail sales to patients, either through on-site sales, delivery or on-line orders is only permitted by businesses with a dispensary license.”

Moving forward with the permit, Elisabeth said the challenges she will face are similar to the ones that other businesses are already facing. Manufacturers will work on streamlining production: making sure they keep their labs properly calibrated, their data accurate and their dosage measurements precise.

“No one wants to waste medicine,” Elisabeth said.   

Some manufacturers will have trouble sourcing clean materials for their production, Elisabeth said, adding that she believes it is important to find growers who have experience and an “actual relationship with the plant.”

The industry feels like a community in many ways, Elisabeth said, but is also cutthroat and competitive, calling it a “race to the top,” which people will do anything to reach.

“Everyone is talking about the money now, but 10 to 15 years ago, it was really about getting the medicine,” Elisabeth said.

Contact Alicia Kim at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @aliciackim.