Oakland takes steps to approve large-scale indoor marijuana farms:
After hours of public testimony, the City Council voted 5 to 2 to permit large-scale indoor marijuana plantations. The struggling city, which faces a $31 million deficit and has a 17 percent unemployment rate, estimates that the marijuana factories could bring in as much as $38 million annually in fees and taxes.
"As the industry continues to emerge and grow, we know that other cities are looking at this," said Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who is running for mayor. "It's important for Oakland to be a vital part of the growth and development of licensed facilities."
While the city has been one of the most welcoming in the state to medical marijuana purveyors, how the drug is grown has been largely unregulated. Oakland's new law, which requires a final vote from the City Council next week, would bring large-scale marijuana cultivators above ground, mandating that they pay a $211,000 annual fee, provide security, conduct criminal background checks on employees, install camera surveillance and fire-safe electrical systems, and buy insurance.
If the plan receives final approval, the city would begin issuing large-scale production permits in January.
Later in the story, one hopeful pot entrepreneur is quoted as pitching the project by asking the City Council, "You want to be the Silicon Valley of cannabis?" Whole thing here.