Seeking greater control over who supplies marijuana to legal medical users, the city of Oakland has approved a plan that would license four large marijuana farms and sets hefty regulatory fees on the operations, the Oakland Tribune reported July 22.
“We are at a time when medical cannabis is a growing and emerging industry,” said city council member Rebecca Kaplan. “There is a growing demand to have permitted facilities, not just (to reduce) danger, but to provide good products, good paying jobs and to provide revenue for public safety.”
Medical-marijuana users purchased $28 million worth of the drug at the city's four dispensaries last year.
Permits for the large-scale cultivation operations would be issued in January. Each of the approved growers would have to pay a $5,000 administrative fee and a $211,000 annual regulatory fee.
The plan has drawn fire from the smaller-scale providers who have been supplying the city's dispensaries so far, and city officials promised to consider ways to include smaller growers in the supply chain. Officials pointed out that small operations could band together to apply for one of the four permits.
However, Dan Grace, a small grower, said the new rules would actually decrease public safety by forcing minor cultivators “to go back underground, where they will not be able to get electrical permits.”