The Line Forms Here For Pot Growing Permits

Oakland positions itself at center of the California Grow Rush

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Jul 22, 2010  |  Updated 5:34 PM PDT
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If he gets the permit by January 2011, Jeff Wilcox could deliver pounds of marijuana as soon as next June.

But he's only one of 192 so far who have started on the paperwork necessary to get one of the newly-approved permits from the City of Oakland to operate a large-scale facility to produce medical marijuana.

Though Wilcox wants to start relatively small, eventually the site could produce more than ten tons of marijuana a year -- or double what local dispensaries are currently selling.

That will inevitably lead to lower prices, scaring many of the small-scale growers that currently provide dispensaries with product.

While there's still lingering concern over the ultimate legality of such an enterprise -- even if California voters pass Proposition 19 in November, production of the drug for any reason will still be illegal on a federal level -- the idea is to get a jump start on an industry that seems to be headed towards legitimacy.

An operation of that size would be a boon to the revenue side of the books for Oakland, which has had to lay off police officers in order to balance its budget.

Whoever wins the contract for the facility will have to pay $211,000 to start, as well as pay a tax on product sold, and presumably any other taxes applicable to a business in the city.

Wilcox has said that his plans potentially include leasing space in the facility to other growers, which could ameliorate concerns from existing producers as well as from the fire department, which has seen an uptick in home fires from residential operations.

Jackson West figures if RAND is right, that ten tons of pot will prove hella cheap.

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