Growing marijuana outdoors is simple in California. The anticipated legalization of marijuana – Prop 19 on the November ballot – is already being greeted with proposals for pot factory farms. Now small growers cry foul; but what did they think would happen?
It Started with Medical Marijuana
Getting legal Mary Jane is nothing new in the Golden State. The “American Medical Marijuana Association” devotes itself to protecting patients’ rights and access to prescribed dope. They also work to protect patients who choose to smoke medically sanctioned weed from far-reaching consequences. A case in point is the recent news that smoking medical marijuana led to the firing of a Wal-Mart employee.
Then Came a Push for the Blanket Legalization of Marijuana
Championed in 2009 by San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano, the idea never really went away. As a result, California voters have the option of voting for the legalization of marijuana on the November ballot in the form of Proposition 19. Perfectly summarized by AOL News, Prop 19 proposes to make the private possession of weed (up to one ounce) legal for adults over 21 years of age. It would also turn dope into a taxable crop.
Enter the Pot Factory Farm
A savvy Oakland business entrepreneur is getting ready ahead of the anticipated legalization of marijuana. Seeking to carve out a sizable niche of the market, the L.A. Times reports that the owner of the already incorporated AgraMed proposes to take Mary Jane production into the big leagues.
The entrepreneur has outlined plans to “manufacture growing equipment, bake marijuana edibles in a 10,000-square-foot kitchen and use two football fields of space to grow about 58 pounds of marijuana every day.” The irresistible hook in this scenario is the influx of ready cash and jobs: 371 workers would staff the plant, and a projected $1.5 million in annual tax payments would make it into Oakland’s coffers.
Small Time Dope Growers are Outraged
Although in the past the electorate was sold on the idea of medical marijuana as a doctor-patient decision and on the mushrooming number of small-time dispensaries in Los Angeles as necessary for the good of needy patients, these same marijuana activists are now crying foul. It appears that it is no longer really just about the patient and ready availability of the drug, but also about cold, hard cash.
With pot factory farming likely to do to smalltime growers what Costco and Wal-Mart have done to mom-and-pop grocery stores and Ace Hardware, detractors – as outlined in the New York Times – ask why this proposal should be considered in the first place. Small grower representatives are asking to “bring these citizen farmers out of the shadows and into the light and give them a role in this new industry.”
It is true that the mom-and-pop medical marijuana growers are the backbone of the legalization effort. It is also true that growing marijuana outdoors is a simple task in California, with little need for pot factory farming.
All that said, the activists who worked so tirelessly on the legalization of marijuana may have overlooked just one tiny fact surrounding the purple haze: Once dope becomes legal, it also becomes big business.
(2)”Smoking Medical Marijuana Gets Wal-Mart Worker Fired” on Associated Content
(3)”California Marijuana Bill Proposes Legalizing Marijuana Tax to Equal $1 a Joint” on Associated Content
(4)”Proposition 19: Key Facts on California’s Marijuana Legalization Vote” on AOL News
(5)”Oakland could go to pot in a big way with four proposed factory farms” at the L.A. Times
(6)”Proposal for Marijuana Factories Prompts a Battle for Control” at the New York Times