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California city approves marijuana farming
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Author:  AngelOfThyNight [ Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 am ]
Post subject:  California city approves marijuana farming

California city approves marijuana farming

OAKLAND, California — The city of Oakland,
California on Tuesday legalized large-scale marijuana cultivation for medical
use and will issue up to four permits for "industrial" cultivation starting next

The move by the San Francisco Bay Area city aims to bring
medical marijuana cultivation into the open and allow the city to profit by
taxing those who grow it.

The resolution passed the city council easily after a nearly
four-hour debate that pitted small-scale "garden" growers against advocates of a
bigger, industrial system that would become a "Silicon Valley" of pot.

"This is going to grow as an industry. And someone is going
to have a high-tech producer," Council Member Jean Quan said during the

Oakland already taxes sales of medical marijuana, but
cultivation has existed in a legal gray area. Council members plan later action
to levy new taxes on growers.

The city's decision is separate from a statewide ballot
initiative to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use which Californians
will vote on in November.

Polls put support for the November state legalization measure
at about 50 percent of voters, and if it passed, the state would be the first to
broadly legalize its use. Many jurisdictions tolerate some personal use and
small sales, but none allow major-scale growing, sales and recreational use.

U.S. Federal law bans marijuana use of any sort but law
enforcement authorities have turned a virtual blind eye to medical

Large-scale cultivation in California so far has been
dominated by criminals who grow marijuana in national forests or complexes of
grow houses, law enforcement officers say.

The toughest opposition at the Tuesday city council meeting
in Oakland came from the small-scale marijuana growers who feel they will be
squeezed out of the market by the new 'agribusiness'. Outright opponents to
marijuana use were silent.

Copyright 2010 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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