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Oakland Approves City Pot Farm Plan

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By Jason Beahm on July 22, 2010 7:13 AM

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
-Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson probably would not have been a fan of the decision of Oakland's City Council to permit industrial marijuana production. Under the new ordinance, which passed 5-2, four massive marijuana factories would be authorized to grow medical marijuana on an industrial scale. Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML and an Oakland resident, sees it as a landmark move.

"This is a monumental step forward," said Dale Gieringer, an Oakland resident and the longtime head of California NORML, which backs the legalization of marijuana. "It really means moving into the era of industrial-scale operations and Oakland means to do it big."

However smaller operation growers are not pleased with the pot farm plan and are concerned that it could drive them out of business. They feel like despite being crucial to helping California's marijuana laws progress to their current state, they are now being shut out. The annual permit fee for the new industrial growers would be $211,000. A marijuana tax of up to 12% may also be passed

Steve DeAngelo, who runs the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country was vocal in his opposition to industrial growers. "Government should not choose the winners and losers but create a level playing field ... Some people might prefer mass production, assembly-line cannabis that costs less. Others might prefer cannabis grown by a master gardener in a smaller plot ... Let the market sort it out," DeAngelo told the San Francisco Chronicle.

We have speculated that marijuana cases are likely to end up with a U.S. Supreme Court showdown. California, like 13 other states, has legalized the medical use of marijuana. The state is also considering legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes in November. However, under federal law, marijuana is illegal, even medically.

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