Will Oakland Become “the Silicon Valley of Pot?”

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REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

When your state is completely broke, you have to get creative to pay the bills.

That’s why the city council of Oakland approved an ordinance that could authorize four massive marijuana factories, making it the first city in California to approve industrial production of pot.

The decision didn’t come easy, though. The debate got heated between current small-scale pot growers, who say their livelihoods would be harmed by the factories, and the business-minded who see Oakland as an industrial marijuana hot spot — or, as the Los Angeles Times calls it, “the Silicon Valley of pot.”

Oakland isn’t new to capitalize on medical marijuana. The city was the first to adopt a “pot tax” of 1.8 percent, but officials are now asking voters to approve a considerable tax hike. Not only would Oakland make big bucks with this new measure, but also they would have the opportunity to monitor and inspect marijuana produced in their city. This, some say, would help eliminate problems like fires and pesticide overuse.

Though massive pot production could bring jobs and revenue to the area, the small growers are worried about being placed at a disadvantage. The annual permit fee would be $211,000 — steep for the average marijuana grower. Just as their trade is becoming legitimate, their careers could still be in danger.

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