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Oakland Program Wants to Become the 'McDonalds of Marijuana'

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The CannBe program of Oakland, Calif., and its Harborside Health Center have distanced their medical-marijuana operations from the counterculture and are hoping to be in the vanguard if the trend toward marijuana decriminalization and legalization continues across the U.S., the New York Times reported April 24.

Marijuana franchises are starting to spring up along with lobbying and law firms, trade shows and seminars as more states legalize the drug for medical use. “Pot” and even “marijuana” are not often used to describe the drug; CannBe president Steve DeAngelo prefers the scientific term “cannabis.”

“We want to make it safe, seemly and responsible,” he said.

At Harborside, marijuana sales are offered in a brightly lit facility alongside yoga classes and chiropractic services. “If we can't demonstrate professionalism and legitimacy, we're never going to gain the trust of our citizens,” DeAngelo said. “And without that trust, we're never going to get where we need to go.”

“This is an emerging business opportunity, as it would be in any other area,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

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