Oakland’s medical marijuana industry is headed for another growth spurt, with local officials clearing the way this week for four new cannabis dispensaries to open later this year.
The city’s move to expand the number of dispensaries will generate another $1.7 million in local tax revenues, create dozens of jobs and provide new opportunities for medical marijuana vendors and suppliers.
The number of MMJ centers in the city will effectively double, giving patients more choice and bolstering the entire cannabis industry yet also providing more competition to existing dispensaries such as heavyweight Harborside Health Center.
Finally, an MMJ city that is seeing industry growth rather than a contraction.
The medical marijuana industry has taken a huge hit over the past year, with the federal government, states and individual cities cracking down on dispensaries and cultivation operations. In many areas with MMJ laws, the number of dispensaries has shriveled amid warnings that medical cannabis workers could be prosecuted.
While numerous cities have enacted moratoriums on new dispensaries to see how everything shakes out, Oakland followed through with its plan to increase the number of medical cannabis centers.
The city whittled down the list of 12 applicants to the final four, granting a conditional permit to one and recommending that the other three receive permits if they move their proposed locations to areas further away from schools and parks or line up building leases.