Oakland Approves Marijuana Farms: Big Box Pot Farms Feared
Small Pot Growers Worried About Oakland's Approval Of Large Marijuana Farms
Oakland city council voted Tuesday night in favor of issuing four permits for the large scale, industrial style cultivation of marijuana for medicinal use.
Oakland already taxes sales of medical marijuana, but cultivation has existed in a legal gray area. Council members plan later action to levy new taxes on growers.
The city's decision is separate from a statewide ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use which Californians will vote on in November.
The 4 hour city council debate was marked by division between small scale marijuana growers who fear as more laws pass that permit the cultivation of marijuana big growers will push out smaller growers.
Critics, many of them small growers or patient collectives who said they risked arrest to supply much of the $28 million worth of product sold at dispensaries last year, complained that the new cultivation ordinance will put them out of business in favor of big-box, big-money growers with deep pockets and political connections.
The new marijuana farms can only be located in industrial areas and they must follow strict safety and security guidelines.