Federal Prosecutor’s Threats Slow Oakland Medical Marijuana Plans

OAKLAND (KCBS) – The Oakland City Council has voted to double the number of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, but plans to wait until at least fall to decide on allowing cultivation after a recent warning from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The city will now license eight dispensaries instead of four, with the number of pot grows in the city determined by documented prescriptions.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

A plan to let pot growers rent plots in four large warehouses was scrapped because of a warning in February from the US Attorney for Northern California that growers licensed under Oakland’s medical cannabis law would face civil and criminal charges.

“We’re thinking of something smaller than that, and something where every cultivation facility was tied to a specific group of patients and caregivers,” said Councilwoman Pat Kernighan.

Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said the city was pursuing a relatively modest plan in order to demonstrate to the federal government that its medical marijuana industry would operate on a scale that could be controlled by local authorities.

He noted that neighboring San Francisco authorized 26 dispensaries. Oakland was the first city in the United States to license large scale medical marijuana growers.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t jeopardize what we have,” De La Fuente said.

Oakland is now accepting applications for the four new licenses. The council plans to select the new dispensary operators this fall. The vote on cultivation however could be delayed until early 2012.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Anna Duckworth

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live