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Oakland Marijauna ordinance

Unbelievable.  I expected ASA to do their research before spreading misinformation amongst our cannabis community! It’s quite clear that they are siding with one of their biggest contributors, the dispensary giant Harborside Health Center. All they have done here is clean up some fear-based fallacies made by Harborside’s government relations spokesperson a few days ago.
ASA, I also expected you to at least READ THE ORDINANCE! When people think that you MISLED them on the ordinance they’ll lose credibility in the information put out there, undermining our collective effort as a well-informed patient community. For those of you that aren’t spoon-fed ideas to think like your check writers, you can read a copy of the ordinance here: http://clerkwebsvr1.oaklandnet.com/attachments/25359.pdf

I read every page, and I can’t find anything that REQUIRES dispensaries to purchase the medicine from one of the 4 large-scale permitted facilities proposed by the Ordinance. This is Harborside and other monopolists mobilizing and rallying advocates to oppose an ordinance that puts their market control in a precarious state. It makes sense, if you think about it- if you were reporting $22 million a year, why would you want anything to change?
Shouldn’t these not-for-profit organizations protecting their own market control be distributing funds to more virtuous causes than protecting their own monopolies?

MYTH: Cultivation facilities will decrease strain variety eliminating the various therapeutic effects derived from different strains.
TRUTH: Strain variety has decreased due to fragmented farming.  Since there is no communication between hundreds of small growers, we cannot foresee what the other is growing resulting in surpluses of certain genetics and shortages of others.  Information about what to grow is driven by economics (what sells the most per pound and how frequently a strain can harvest) and is always 2-3 months old.  If we know today Dispensary X is offering $4,000 a pound for Blue Dream, then everyone goes out and plants Blue Dream.  When they harvest several weeks later and everyone shows up with the same strain, the information is obsolete, and we only get a homogenous strain that floods the market.  With a large, centralized cultivation facility, many different zones for different strains can be designated and it’s easy to monitor inventory levels of the various genetics.  There’s also the ability to cultivate lower yielding strains that may provide more medicinal value since their costs can be offset by higher yielding strains. Not only will there be more available strains to choose from, but the quality of medicine will be more consistent since the production happens in the same grow environment. 

MYTH: The cultivation ordinance will eliminate hundreds of jobs
TRUTH: The cultivation ordinance would CREATE thousands of single-earner jobs for Oakland.  This will include direct jobs for those working for the cultivation organization and also ancillary jobs for transportation, security, inspection, oversight, etc.  Even at maximum production, 4 cultivation facilities would only produce a nominal percentage of California’s aggregate demand, so it would not put small patient-farmers out of jobs. Oakland still has one of the most generous ordinances for patient-farmers.

MYTH: The cultivation ordinance would increase the cost of affordable medicine for patients
TRUTH: Unless I missed that class of Economics 101, doesn’t more supply mean more competition, resulting in a decrease of prices and an increase in quality?  With more cannabis inventory the cost for medicine will only decline.  More competition also results in the bar being raised for quality of medicine, meaning you’re getting a better bud for your buck.  In reality it’s uncertain whether these cultivation facilities will have a dramatic impact on pricing since the demand for cannabis is so large in California and there are no empirics for this particular scenario, even though many have extrapolated based on similar industries.

MYTH: Agricultural threats will jeopardize the safety of the crop
TRUTH: Larger cultivation facilities allow for higher investment in preventative technology, eliminating molds, mildew, and pests. The cultivation ordinance also will either require or give extra points to cultivation facilities that have 3rd party inspection processes, which provides an ADDITIONAL layer of safety inspection for patients.  The city can also intervene and inspect the quality of medicine at any time.  There is an inherent conflict of interest for dispensaries to inspect their own medicine (while we still commend those that do) because at the end of the day they need to move their inventory and may not be able to invest in sophisticated testing technology.  If the inspection happens at the cultivation level and then also at the dispensary level, 2 separate layers of inspection have happened before the medicine reaches the patients.  We all know a variety of problems can happen between cultivation and consumption.  And again, larger, more centralized grow facilities allow for investment in preventative technology that is cost prohibitive of small grow operations, and also allows for investment in green technology, allowing for a smaller carbon footprint.
One of the city’s major concerns in protecting public safety are the electrical fires, home invasions and hostile takeovers that have resulted by unregulated cultivation, expending limited city resources and creating a public nuisance.  In a licensed cultivation scenario, the facility will be designed by licensed professionals and inspected for building safety, fire safety and for hazardous materials.  To win a cultivation permit applicants will also have to submit a rigorous security plan to maximize safety of workers and prevent criminal activity and non-diversion.  Applicants will also be given points for environmental friendliness, so we can prevent illegal dumpings, excess waste runoff and utility consumption.
I encourage everyone to attend tonight’s Public Safety hearing, but please read the ordinance and don’t feed into the propaganda being organized by a few small groups in an effort to protect their own self-interests and monopoly.

When:         Today Tuesday, July 13 at 6:00 pm
Where:       Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room One – 1st floor

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