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Oakland green lights 'industrial' marijuana cultivation

'Silicon Valley' of dope for medical use

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The Californian city of Oakland yesterday gave the green light to the "industrial" cultivation of marijuana for medical use, and will next year issue up to four permits to create a "Silicon Valley" of dope.

The city council's decision, Reuters explains, aims "to bring medical marijuana cultivation into the open and allow the city to profit by taxing those who grow it".

Council member Jean Quan insisted during the debate: "This is going to grow as an industry. And someone is going to have a high-tech producer."

The move was opposed by exisiting small-scale growers, who fear they'll be squeezed hard by this "agribusiness". They operate in a legal "grey area", but Oakland levies a tax on the sale of their product for medical use. The council will decide later on a tax regime for the new, legalised mass producers.

Oakland's move is not related to a statewide November ballot in which Californians will decide whether to legalise pot for "adult recreational use".

Reuters explains that around 50 per cent of voters are in favour of the legislation which, if passed, would make California the first state to "broadly legalise" marijuana use. ®

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