SAN LEANDRO — The first manufacturing facility for a medical marijuana product in mid-Alameda County is well on its way to opening its doors by next year.

The San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments, by a 4-0 vote, has approved plans for Dispersa Labs, of Tarpon Springs, Florida, to build a 7,745-square-foot warehouse at 1655 Abram Court, where a dry cannabis powder inhaler for medical uses will be manufactured.

[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]“We’re a startup and very excited about the opportunity to go in (here),” Dispersa Labs co-founder David Cookson said at the Dec. 7 meeting.

“We’re making a very technical product — it’s a very low impact use — and we think it’s an opportunity for us and the city of San Leandro to explore cannabis in the best possible way and advance the trade,” he said.

Zoning board members Catherine Vierra Houston and Marguerite Mazzitti were absent.

The City Council in July approved creating a pilot program allowing up to five cannabis product manufacturers to operate in some San Leandro industrial areas.

Applications for businesses that manufacture cannabis products in San Leandro are considered on a case-by-case basis and do not require buffer zones away from schools, day care centers and youth centers.

Dispersa Labs has been the only applicant to apply to manufacture cannabis products under San Leandro’s pilot program, city planning manager Andrew Mogensen said. Part of the problem, he said, is that there aren’t many vacant spaces in the city’s industrial area for any business.

“If you’re a cannabis business, it’s even more difficult because a lot of real estate investment trusts and other businesses will not allow them to lease their property, so it has been very difficult for cannabis manufacturers to find locations in our city,” Mogensen said at the meeting.

“We do expect to see more applications in the future, and I think this is a great first step because this is the first time that we’ve ever seen one,” he said.

Dispersa Labs would occupy one of two spaces in a 13,347-square-foot industrial building near Abram Court and Merced Street. The space previously housed National Abrasives, a warehouse and seller of abrasive materials, from 1966 to 2011.

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The Abram Court space would be the first manufacturing facility for Dispersa Labs, which was conceived in early 2014 and developed with the help of Flurry Powders, a Tarpon Springs engineer, researcher, developer and manufacturer of specialty powders.

The company’s main product will be a dry cannabis powder inhaler, Cookson said. Dispersa Labs will initially employ four to five people at its San Leandro facility.

“We have a very detailed application requirement to be able to go through this process, and these applicants have done that,” Mogensen told the zoning board

“They have met and complied with everything that we require under the pilot program, and that involves a lot of documentation upfront, which is why you see detailed operational plans and a security plan, along with details on traffic and air filtration. We feel this is a very good example of what we’re looking for in the future from a cannabis manufacturer,” he said.

Dispersa Labs initially will pay a city marijuana business tax of 6 percent, which will increase to 8 percent by 2021.

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