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

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.