Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

August 16, 2010
Walnut Creek builders see green in household marijuana rooms

construction[1].JPGThe glossy brochure for the Good Green Builders Construction brims with photographs of home growing rooms featuring tomatoes, bell peppers and lettuce in a spectrum of leafy colors.

"We love what we do. And we are discreet," says the leaflet for the Walnut Creek firm founded by Brett McCormick, 25, and William McKenzie, 26, two agribusiness graduates from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The discretion the duo is promising isn't for home-grown arugula. McCormick and McKenzie have built a successful general contracting firm by working with Californians wanting to set up safe - and discreet - residential grow rooms for cultivating pot.

McCormick says Good Green Builders works only with certified medical marijuana users and checks their physician's recommendations to ensure they have have a legal right to grow for themselves or others.

California law permits people with physician's recommendations for marijuana to cultivate up to 6 mature or 12 immature plants. Growers can legally cultivate for multiple medical users. And some cities and counties allow substantially higher growing limits - 72 plants, for example, in Oakland or 100-square feet in Humboldt County.

"We basically make sure they're legal," McCormick says. "We check their recommendations and don't set them up with something outside of their limits."

But Good Green Builders - and like-minded builders - may be poised for a boom if California voters in November approve Proposition 19 to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults over 21. The initiative would permit all California households to maintain a 25-square foot - or 5 by 5 - growing space for pot.

"Typically, we're doing bigger (growing) settings than 5 by 5," McCormick says. "We can definitely cater to that. There are going to be a lot of people who can grow their own."

With stories of at-home growing causing house fires from faulty wiring or otherwise overwhelming household infrastructure, Good Green Builders says it subcontracts with licensed electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilation specialists and other professionals depending on the job demands.

McCormick say the firm's specialty is doing "custom build-outs" of garages as people covert indoor parking to pot cultivation. The firm has also built basement grow-rooms with subterranean retaining walls and moisture barriers, created bedroom growing systems and a range of residential green houses.

"A lot of our customers are first-time growers," he says. "We cater to that. We definitely make it as easy as possible."

Pictured: McCormick with Good Green Builders residential designs for at-home cultivation. Peter Hecht/phecht@sacbee.com

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About Weed Wars

Peter Hecht

From its pot fields to politics, California is the epicenter for America's marijuana discussion. This blog covers news, trends and people of the California marijuana story.

Contact reporter Peter Hecht at phecht@sacbee.com

» See the sacbee.com marijuana topics page

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