Berkeley Hits Brakes on Medi-Pot Plans

The city of Berkeley is now rethinking plan to license, tax pot farms

By Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Jan 10, 2011  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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A legal warning to Oakland officials has apparently been heard loud and clear by their counterparts to the north.

The Oakland Tribune reports that Berkeley city officials are now rethinking a voter-approved plan to license and tax medical marijuana farms.  

In July, the Oakland City Council approved an ordinance that would allow Oakland to license and regulate four large-scale commercial pot farms that would provide marijuana for Oakland's dispensaries. Dozens of people expressed interest in operating the large scale growing operations.

 Mayor Tom Bates told the paper that Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's recent written warning to Oakland officials that said that plan might invite legal action also had a chilling effect on his city. You can read O'Malley's letter for yourself at this link (pdf).

In November, Berkeley voters approved a plan for six large scale pot farms inside its city lines. A separate measure to tax the businesses was also approved.   The city council was supposed to write a law that would make that all possible. The Trib says  now that seems to be a long shot. Bates said he is still hopeful city leaders will be able to develop the needed rules. 

As for Oakland, the city council there put its plan on hold last month.

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