California Cities Scramble to Launch Pot Farms

Towns want marijuana-related tax money
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2010 9:38 AM CST
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)
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(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. (Read more California stories.)

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