Cannabis Farmers Line Up in Oakland

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010  |  Updated 8:39 AM PDT
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Hundreds of people, including at least one celebrity, are lining up for a chance to grow marijuana in Oakland.

The city recently passed a cultivation law, opening the door for marijuana farming in Oakland. So far, 226 people are in line for a permit.

Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan says medical marijuana patient and talk show host Montel Williams is interested in setting up shop in Oakland. Williams announced in 1999 that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and says he uses medical marijuana everyday.

Jeff Wilcox, founder of AgraMed, was one of the main thrusts behind Oakland's pot farm ruling. He believes the permit fees and taxes from sales and will benefit Oakland and be a driving force for jobs.

"Small growers can come rent space. Hypothetically, you can have mid-size office building growing cannabis." Wilcox said. "Not football fields but small 2,000 to 5,000-square foot rooms at most, where varietals will be regulated in this critical industry."

But operators of Harborside Health Center are concerned big operations will squeeze out hundreds of small growers.

Oakland is expected to begin accepting applications for the permits in September and the pot farms could begin growing as soon as January. The federal government is monitoring the developments.
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