SAN LEANDRO — A cannabis manufacturing business is on track to open on Catalina Street, where workers will roll joints, fill vape cartridges with cannabis oil, manufacture resin and make edibles.
What will not be taking place at the location, however, is the highly dangerous and illegal process of removing the “honey oil” extract from marijuana with butane gas, which was what authorities said was taking place on Timothy Drive in May and caused an explosion, injuring two people and resulting in four arrests.
The blast blew off the building’s roof and sent debris flying over a four-block area.
Eric Hughes of ASHA Pharmaceuticals, which is behind the business, told the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments on Aug. 6 that it will respect the law.
“ASHA has spent a considerable amount of time developing a cannabis business model that complies with the city of San Leandro’s ordinance regarding cannabis and also complies with state regulations,” Hughes said.
He also addressed the explosion before board members voted unanimously to grant the business a conditional use permit.
“We do not want the actions of illegal operators in this unfortunate situation to take away from ASHA’s mission,” Hughes said.
ASHA Pharmaceuticals initially planned to use what is called a “volatile” process, which calls for the use of butane, hexane or pentane to extract the potent oil from the plant that can be then used in a variety of ways, such as for vaping or as an ingredient in edibles.
But the business removed the request from its application following the explosion in the 1700 block of Timothy Drive.
The cannabis facility will open at 14505 and 14509 Catalina St. in what previously housed a food manufacturing, research and development company, city Planner Brianne Reyes said.
It will initially have 10 employees, but the company anticipates adding six more when fully operational, Reyes said.
ASHA Pharmaceuticals will take up about 4,800 square feet of the building, she said, while offices of other businesses will continue within the building’s remaining 2,700 square feet.
City officials recommended the board allow the manufacturing business to go forward.
The board’s decision is final. But appeals, which will be heard by the City Council, can be filed within 15 days of the Aug. 6 decision.