Neeta Lind

Oakland, CA Expands Medical Cannabis Market

Oakland’s City Council voted unanimously to expand the city’s number of medical cannabis dispensaries and related businesses on Wednesday. The move allows an additional eight dispensary permits each year, 12 delivery services, five distributors, five transporters, two testing facilities, 28 manufacturers and 30 cultivators.

Lawmakers hope the new law will bring some of the black market into “regulatory sunlight,” according to the East Bay Times.

One of the law amendments dictates that half of the licensees for dispensaries opening in certain areas of the city must be issued to residents of that area. That individual must maintain at least a 51 percent ownership stake in the business. The areas, all in East Oakland, were identified as having higher marijuana-related arrest rates than the rest of the city.

The amendment, authored by Councilmember Desley Brooks, also permits applicants who have previous marijuana-related offenses in Oakland to own a dispensary. Brooks anticipates these amendments will lead to more minority-run ventures.

“When you look at the cannabis industry around the country, it is predominantly white,” Brooks said in the East Bay Times report. “When you look at the cannabis industry here, with respect to ownership, it is predominantly white.”

Currently, Oakland’s eight dispensaries generate about $4 million in taxes but Greg Minor, an assistant to the city administrator, declined to estimate the potential tax revenues the new dispensaries and other businesses could generate.

California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” — which would legalize marijuana for recreational use — is likely to appear on ballots in November.

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