California Cities Scramble to Launch Pot Farms

Towns want marijuana-related tax money

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 22, 2010 9:38 AM CST

(Newser) – In a bid to rake in even more pot-related tax revenue, some California cities are pushing to build government-OKed marijuana farms within city limits, the AP reports. In wine country, the town of Sebastopol passed a measure allowing for four medical-marijuana gardens—two of which are to function as communal gardens where patients can grow their own plants. Oakland will today begin the application process for the four permits for industrial-scale marijuana farms it is offering; permit holders will have to pay a $211,000 annual fee, as well as a special higher tax rate.

While Oakland's permits don't set limits on the amount of pot that can be grown, permit holders must conform to environmental, security, and labor standards. All this is taking place even though the state's medical marijuana laws require medical marijuana businesses to operate as nonprofits—and even though the amount of pot the cities are planning to let their growers cultivate would historically get a drug trafficker decades in federal prison. The DEA didn't respond to the AP's request for comment on how it might respond if the city-approved operations actually started growing pot.

In this Nov. 19, 2010 photo, James Madsen of Orton Development looks at property grounds that have sparked interest among numerous medicinal marijuana growers Nov. 19, 2010, in Berkeley, Calif.
In this Nov. 19, 2010 photo, James Madsen of Orton Development looks at property grounds that have sparked interest among numerous medicinal marijuana growers Nov. 19, 2010, in Berkeley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Zach Nieto smokes a marijuana cigarette while watching election results on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Oakland, Calif.
Zach Nieto smokes a marijuana cigarette while watching election results on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Oakland, Calif.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
In this Nov. 19, 2010 photo, James Madsen of Orton Development looks at property grounds that have sparked interest among numerous medicinal marijuana growers in Berkeley.
In this Nov. 19, 2010 photo, James Madsen of Orton Development looks at property grounds that have sparked interest among numerous medicinal marijuana growers in Berkeley.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
In this photo taken May 13, 2009 marijuana grown for medical purposes is shown inside a greenhouse at a farm in Potter Valley, Calif.
In this photo taken May 13, 2009 marijuana grown for medical purposes is shown inside a greenhouse at a farm in Potter Valley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Marijuana advocate Debby Goldsberry sits among pot plants in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010.
Marijuana advocate Debby Goldsberry sits among pot plants in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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