News / Economy

Medical Marijuana Growers Worry About Threat From Superstores

Containers of medical marijuana at the Harborside Health Center
Containers of medical marijuana at the Harborside Health Center

Multimedia

After weathering the fear of federal prosecution and competition from drug cartels, California's medical marijuana growers see a new threat on the horizon.  Oakland is about to become the first city to authorize large scale marijuana cultivation.  The move could generate millions of dollars in taxes and create hundreds of new jobs.  While the measure has yet to pass, current medical marijuana growers fear the move will drive many of them out of business.

Oakland, California is one step closer to becoming the Cannabis Capital of the U.S. following the city's proposal to issue licenses for large scale cultivation of medical marijuana.  The city plans to issue up to four licenses to growers willing to pay $200,000 every year and up to 8 percent of gross sales in taxes.



One of the applicants is the iGrow Superstore, which offers just about everything one needs to grow marijuana but doesn't grow any.  Co-owner Derek Peterson plans to produce up to 10,000 kilos per year if the city approves his application.

"California has done a phenomenal job of regulating the dispensaries, the sales aspect of it," said Derek Peterson. "What has never been talked about is the cultivation and transportation. That has always been in the dark."

Although the measure has yet to be approved, the issue of permits to grow unlimited amounts of cannabis has many growers green with envy.

Stephen DeAngelo is executive director of Harborside Health Center, the largest marijuana dispensary in the U.S.

"If only large growers of cannabis are licensed, then all of the small and medium-sized growers would become illegal and would be forced to close and would lose their livelihood," said Stephen DeAngelo.

Peterson disagrees.  Rather than lose business, he believes local permits could generate large revenues for the city and reduce crime associated with small scale operations.  

"You see a lot of home invasion robberies, a lot of home fires, a lot of unsafe conditions," he said. "These permitted facilities will be built out in a code-friendly matter by licensed electricians, civil engineers with LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] -certified architects, and I think that's one of the most important things for the local community."

But DeAngelo likens the development of the cannabis industry to the local wine industry.  

"To people who say that the only way to organize this industry would be with huge factories, I would ask them what Napa County [California wine region] would look like if there were only four huge industrial vineyards," he said. "It wouldn't be a very vibrant industry and I think the same thing holds true with cannabis."

Oakland's City Council is expected to pass the bill when it comes up for a final vote this month.

But the biggest change could come in November when California voters weigh in on proposition 19. It would legalize the possession and recreational use of non-medical marijuana.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9115
JPY
USD
123.92
GBP
USD
0.6554
CAD
USD
1.2443
INR
USD
63.800

Rates may not be current.