The Coalinga City Council voted to allow medical cannabis across the city last week, as well as approved the sale of the city’s dormant prison complex to Ocean Grown Extracts, a medical cannabis company. Ocean Grown Extracts will buy the former prison for $4.1 million, the Fresno Bee reports, and the company plans to turn the complex into a medical cannabis oil extraction facility.
The new cannabis ordinances required a four-fifths majority to advance. The proposal passed through the Coalinga City Council with a 4-1 vote on July 7.
The Claremont Custody Center, which was closed down unexpectedly in 2011, was once contracted with the state of California to house over 500 state inmates. The prison’s sale will bring the city of Coalinga — which, according to City Manager Marissa Trejo, is between $3.3 million and $3.8 million in debt — immediately into the black.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer 100 jobs and make safe medicine available for patients,” said Ocean Grown Extracts co-owner Casey Dalton. “We appreciate Coalinga taking a chance not only on us, but on the industry.”
Dalton said she hopes the extraction plant will be up and running within six months.
Coalinga Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Keough said after the vote, “It’s like the Grateful Dead said: ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been.'”
Mayor Keough believes that the hours spent educating the community about medical cannabis played a big role in the city’s eventual embracing of marijuana reform. “We listened to the citizens and created a package that was reflective of our population,” he said.
Though it followed six months of heated debates, when Keough called for public comment just prior to the final vote, the packed-to-capacity City Council chambers went reportedly silent.
“You can never do anything that satisfies everyone,” said Keough. “But we were pretty darn close to doing that.”
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