Washington, July 21 (ANI): Oakland could soon become the "Silicon Valley of Pot" after its City Council approved an ordinance that permits industrial marijuana production.
It is being seen as a path-breaking decision that could spur the commercialization of a crop largely grown in hidden gardens.
The 5-2 vote came after two hours of testy debate between pot growers, who argued the proposal could destroy their livelihoods and businessmen who said it could turn Oakland into the Silicon Valley of pot, create jobs and generate new tax revenues.
The audience booed, hissed and talked back, causing City Council President Jane Brunner to repeatedly admonish the crowd.
The plan would authorize four potentially enormous pot factories, but makes no provision for the hundreds of growers who now supply Oakland's four dispensaries, which sold 28 million dollars in marijuana last year.
The council, however, promised it would develop a plan for these growers before permits are awarded next year for the four large-scale marijuana operations.
"This is a monumental step forward," said Dale Gieringer, an Oakland resident and the longtime head of California NORML, which backs the legalization of marijuana.
He added: "It really means moving into the era of industrial-scale operations and Oakland means to do it big." (ANI)