Desert Hot Springs cannabis company using production line to make hand sanitizer for health care workers

Edward Reyes, left, and Steven Sharble of From The Earth manufacture hand sanitizer at the THC extraction facility to be given to local hospitals and first responders in Desert Hot Springs, April 2, 2020. (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

A Desert Hot Springs cannabis company has found a way to repurpose their extraction facility as a hand sanitizer production line for the benefit of health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

From the Earth LLC makes THC distillate at its extraction facility located on the 160-acre Coachillin’ Canna-Business Park on Indian Canyon Drive. It opened in January, just a few months before the heightened spread of the coronavirus put a strain on much-needed sanitation supplies.

CEO Dan Zaharoni said one of his investors mentioned that their extraction equipment could be used for making hand sanitizer just a few days before California’s shelter-in-place order kicked in, around the same time demand for such products began to grow and the supply began to tighten.

After checking out newly issued guidelines with the Food and Drug Administration, Zaharoni figured out his company could order the simple ingredients — including ethyl alcohol — and produce 70 to 100 gallons of hand sanitizer week.

“It’s part of our civic duty,” Zaharoni said. “We’re very happy we have the facilities and the resources that we can help out during this crisis, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Typically the facility creates THC distillate, a kind of cannabis concentrate used in vape pens or edibles. The multi-step manufacturing process means that certain pieces of equipment aren’t in use at all times, so employees at the facility can mix up the hand sanitizer without affecting their current production timeline.

Once produced and packaged, the hand sanitizer will be donated to hospitals in the communities where From the Earth has facilities — the Coachella Valley, Ventura County, Pomona and Long Beach, Zaharoni said.

Production started this week and will continue for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll continue pushing out as much as we can produce, as long as there are people out there who can use it, as long as there’s a need,” he said.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says the cost of hand sanitizer has skyrocketed since the World Health Organization declared a state of emergency on Jan. 30. The price is at least 50% higher than the 90-day average as the coronavirus spreads, U.S. PIRG said.

Like From the Earth, various companies have responded: some distillers began making hand sanitizer, as has CannaCraft, a Santa Rosa-based manufacturer that will donate the tubes to nonprofits, customers, employees and essential businesses.

The FDA announced guidelines for donated hand sanitizer on March 20, while acknowledging “significant supply disruptions for alcohol-based hand sanitizers.” The agency said it wouldn’t take action against any companies that stick to the guidelines even if they’re not recognized drug manufacturers.

Source: The Desert Sun
Melissa Daniels
April 2nd, 2020

An Important Message from our CEO about the Coronavirus

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

From The Earth has always been committed to serving our community and supporting our customers as they learn about cannabis, live with the benefits, and grow as individuals. In continuing this mission, and as a result of recent COVID-19 developments, we wanted to take a moment to communicate how we intend to protect the health and wellness of our team, members, brand partners, and general public.

Over the course of the past week, the concern regarding the impact of COVID-19 has heightened and so have our efforts to ensure your health and safety. It is our top priority and we will continue monitoring developments to adjust our strategies according to recommendations made by the CDC, federal, local, and state agencies.

Our current approach implements strategies to best protect our team and members, including the following measures:

  • To limit person-to-person contact, launching curb-side pickup option and protocol.
  • Reinforcing protocols surrounding health, hygiene, and cleaning throughout our locations and corporate office. Special attention is being paid to areas such as our lobby, showroom, display screens, countertops, common-use touchpoints, seating surfaces, and an overall increase in frequency of cleaning of our facilities.
  • Additional sanitizer will be placed throughout our locations and we encourage you to use it upon contact with any surfaces or people.
  • Maintaining regular internal communication to keep our teams informed of latest adjustments as they occur.
  • Suspension of all business-related travel and in-person meetings.
  • Reviewing and instituting measures to encourage self-monitoring and responsible symptom awareness, including providing our employees with an additional 5 days of sick leave the rest of 2020.

We ask that all members and staff stay home should they be experiencing symptoms of any illness, especially that of the flu. While the cannabis community is one of sharing, we encourage mindful consumption as a preventative measure as well.

Over the years, we’ve come to know many of you and understand that several of our members depend on the benefits achieved through use of the products we provide. Our medicinal members, who are at heightened risk, are dear to us and one of the most important reasons why we do what we do, so we ask that you please keep them in mind when moving in public spaces. We are doing everything we can to remain operational and able to provide support for our medicinal members.

In addition to the above measures and in anticipation of further developments, over the next few days, we will be launching our new curbside pick-up option in an effort to limit person-to-person contact.  In advance, we appreciate your patience as we roll out this new process. More information on this to follow.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to personally thank you for trusting us and remaining confident in our dedication to our community and each one of you individually. It is not an easy decision to encourage our team or members to stay home, as you are the very individuals who allow us to do what we love, in an industry we love. However, we know that such preventative measures will help to ensure the safety of all members of our communities, around the nation.

Dan Zaharoni,
Chief Executive Officer
From The Earth, LLC

(657) 444-7336