Oakland City Council will vote on marijuana-growing proposal 

The Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a modified proposal that would allow five large marijuana-growing operations in the city.

The new proposal, drafted by City Councilwoman Desley Brooks and City Council President Larry Reid, attempts to address legal concerns that were raised in response to a previous proposal that would have permitted four marijuana cultivation operations with no limits on their size.

Brooks said today that the new plan would limit marijuana farms to 50,000 square feet.

She said it also allows cultivators to both cultivate and dispense medical cannabis and requires cultivators to grow at least 70 percent of the medical cannabis they dispense.

The new proposal is more consistent with state law, Brooks said.

One concern about a previous proposal that the City Council scrapped late last year was that some of the pot from marijuana farms of unlimited size would be sold for non-medical purposes.

Another concern was that farms that would be stand-alone businesses might violate medical marijuana laws, which call for marijuana to be grown, bought and sold by collectives of patients and caregivers.

Reid and Brooks said in a recent letter to their colleagues, "We believe that these modifications will provide for a framework that will address the concerns which have been broadly discussed."

Brooks said she would be "pleasantly surprised" if the proposal is approved in its current form tonight.

"It's not perfect, but I would like to see what my colleagues may have to say" about it, she said, adding that she wouldn't be surprised if the proposal is amended either tonight or at a future meeting.

"It's the beginning of a conversation -- not necessarily the end," she said.

Brooks said she thinks there is a consensus on the City Council to allow marijuana farms, but working out the details might require further discussion.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, which is located at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

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