OAKLAND, California -- It's no secret that weed is a big agricultural business, so it's only natural that it's made it to the next stop on its way to a full capitalist makeover: mass production.
The video below is an exclusive look at what could be the country's first official cannabis factory, a 60,000 sq. ft. facility in Oakland that would house 30,000 plants and could produce $50 million of cannabis per year. Part of a proposal by Gropech, a non-profit that promises to create hundreds of union jobs and reinvest profits in the Bay Area if given a permit by the Oakland City Council, the facility would supply medical dispensaries across the state in an attempt to bring transparency to the growing process. "The laws in California were sort of backward because they addressed retail sales before wholesale production," said Derek Peterson, co-founder of Gropech. "It would be like if you built a bunch of liquor stores, and only afterward built distilleries."
The result, he says, is that much of the cannabis sold in medical dispensaries is produced in unregulated and often unsanitary environments -- the cannabis equivalent of moonshine. "A lot of cannabis sold by medical dispensaries is grown by farmers -- and I hesitate to use the term farmers -- in basements and garages."