SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Wilcox, a middle-aged, clean-cut man who dresses in the Bay Area casual business attire of clean jeans, collared shirt and running shoes, may be the face of Marijuana, Inc, the corporatization of cannabis.
He has just persuaded Oakland to legalize industrial-sized marijuana farms, touting a study that promised millions in city taxes and hundreds of high-paying union jobs.
The long-struggling city, which has failed spectacularly to capitalize on the high-tech boom, could be the Silicon Valley of pot, Wilcox told the City Council this week before its historic vote to grant four permits for urban, industrial-size marijuana farms.
But as Wilcox points out, his business model — a nonprofit — will be less Google or Apple and more Trader Joe's, a California cut rate gourmet grocery chain. The store's best-known product is $2 per bottle Charles Shaw wine, known affectionately as Two Buck Chuck and considered a great glass of wine for the price.
"The new Two Buck Chuck will be $40 an ounce pot," Wilcox said in an interview, looking forward to a day of full legalization. Boutique growers could produce the high-end stuff in their "gardens," he explained, while he supplied the masses with a clean, controlled, great-value product.
If California legalizes marijuana, the rest of the nation may well follow. One way or the other, cut rate, highly potent California weed is unlikely to stop at the state's borders.
The U.S. state that first allowed sales of medicinal marijuana, in 1996, may take away all restrictions on adult use of the drug in a November vote, giving local governments the option to regulate sales and growing of marijuana.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Federal Supremacy My Behind - Part II: Oakland Sees A Multi-Billion Marijuana Industry In Its Future
High finance and corporate pot, California style: Economists See A Multi-Billion Industry