Amarried couple who practice law for cannabis-industry clients is putting the “high” in the high desert.
Bob and Lisa Selan are not only legal advocates for cannabis growers and retailers but now real estate developers with two large marijuana-focused projects in Lancaster in north Los Angeles County.
In a real way, they exemplify how the marijuana industry – whose use has been newly expanded in California – is transforming. It’s going from the basic business of growing and selling the plant into the secondary and more involved disciplines of legal consulting and now, real estate development, for what is becoming a multibillion dollar industry.
In fact, a 2016 study by Arcview Market Research in San Francisco estimated that the combined medical and recreational pot market in California will expand from a current $2.8 billion to nearly $6.5 billion by 2020.
The couple, who live in Hidden Hills in the west San Fernando Valley, was led to the high desert of the Antelope Valley to be able to provide space for tenants to grow cannabis in a safe and secure location on two plots of land making up more than 40 acres.
“Our goal was to create a campus environment where all the facilities would share security guards and be able to be enclosed and fenced and not have to worry about having to protect themselves,” Lisa Selan said.
California was the first state to allow medical marijuana use legally after voters passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996. A follow-up law in 2003 established an ID card system for patients using the drug. Currently, 29 states plus the District of Columbia allow medical use while eight and D.C. permit recreational use, or what’s called adult use.
Although adult (or recreational) use of marijuana became legal in California as of Jan. 1, the city of Lancaster only allows growing and manufacturing for medical purposes. It also does not allow dispensaries to sell the drug.
Mark Bozigian, the city manager, said that the council in approving an ordinance nearly a year ago felt that cultivation and manufacturing would provide a new industry and revenue for the city and that it could be done in a safe manner.
“When you start getting into distribution, there are probably more safety issues that you have to be concerned about,” Bozigian said.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris had been looking to allow medical marijuana to be grown in the city prior to his own use of the drug for pain management following surgery he had in 2016 for a cyst on his brain.