Last week, the Coalinga City Council voted 4-1 to allow commercial cannabis cultivation. Fittingly, the council also approved the sale of Claremont Custody Center, a dormant prison in Central California, to Ocean Grown Extracts for $4.1 million.
In an ironic twist, a facility that once imprisoned people caught with pot, will be turned into a massive medical marijuana farm.
Ocean Grown plans to use the empty prison to grow and process marijuana for their line of cannabis oil products. At least 100 jobs will be created with the move in, bringing much-needed business to the community. Prior to the approval, Coalinga was $3.3 million in debt; the sale will immediately bring the city into the black — a detail that helped sway divided opinion.
— Fresno Bee (@FresnoBee) July 8, 2016
After the vote, Coalinga Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Keough said in an interview:
It’s like the Grateful Dead said: ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’
However, don’t expect the Central Valley to turn into California’s hot box overnight. The company will remain under the watchful eye of the law. Ocean Grown and other industry companies vying to open in Coalinga must stick to a strict set of rules. All employees undergo a rigorous background check and require a city permit to work at the plant. To avoid disturbing the neighbors, a system will be set up to prevent any odors from escaping. The grounds will not be open to the public and will be gated with 24-hour video surveillance, which police will have full access to. As for the cannabis plants themselves, each will have electronic devices to keep track of them.
Yet perhaps one of the biggest deal breakers comes from the property tax the city will rake in: $25 per square food for the initial 3,000 square feet and $10 per square feet after that. While Coalinga kept a portion of the center’s property, the former prison garners 77,000 square feet total.
We see what you did there, Council.
H/T Fresno Bee