California cannabis factory eyes federal legalization

STORY: “This machine will roll up to 2,000 joints per hour. It does the filling, the twisting and makes sure it's all at the right density.”

Josh Krane is the vice president of operations of 4Front, the company behind a highly automated cannabis product factory in California, where recreational marijuana use has been legalised since 2016.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on April 1 to end the federal ban on marijuana.

And though the measure is not expected to pass the Senate, Krane believes it’s just a matter of time.

“This facility was designed to really be future proof for us in terms of being able to service not just the entire California market. [edit] We're probably at somewhere around 20-25 percent of our total capacity within the building. And we expect, both as our brands begin to flourish, as we manufacture more third-party brands for other people and as we see the natural ramp up of the industry, that will likely meet an additional demand curve, as we get into federal legalization.”

The federal legalisation bill is now unlikely to reach the Senate by April as Democrats backing the bill originally suggested.

Even so, demand has been high, keeping the factory busy since it opened in November 2021.

“During the pandemic, we've seen a tremendous increase for the demand for cannabis products. So much so that it's been somewhat difficult to keep up with the additional demand in terms of manufacturing enough for those new customers. There's been a tremendous pivot from alcohol and other vices to cannabis.”

Krane says the most popular products are edibles.

And with the factory able to produce up to 400,000 pieces of cannabis candy in a shift, Krane says they are ready to give customers beyond California what they want – as soon as it’s legal for their goods to cross state lines.