Oakland gives final OK to large-scale pot farms
July 27, 2010
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The City Council gave final approval Tuesday to a plan that makes Oakland the first city in the country to authorize large-scale industrial pot cultivation.
The city intends to license four production plants where marijuana would be grown, packaged and processed for medical use.
Under the plan, which would take effect in January, license recipients would be heavily taxed and regulated. They would have to pay the city $211,000 in annual permit fees, carry $2 million in liability insurance and be prepared to devote up to 8 percent of gross sales to taxes.
The measure also would require bidders to meet certain labor, environmental and product safety standards.
However, there would be no size restrictions on the facilities.
Two of the eight City Council members abstained from the vote.
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Supporters of the measure say it will create jobs and bring in much-needed revenue to Oakland. They also say it will give the city an advantage if California voters approve the legalization of recreational marijuana in November.
Opponents argue the urban pot farms would put small medical marijuana growers out of business.
Permits would not be limited to Oakland-based businesses. Councilwoman Desley Brooks said she hoped local business owners and minorities would be encouraged to apply.