In an event that is awesomely symbolic of the war on drugs coming to an end, a former correctional facility in Northern California might soon be transformed into a cannabis extraction plant. In other words, the war on drugs is over and drugs won.
In Coalinga, California the City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday in favor of preparing an ordinance to permit medical marijuana cultivation in the former Claremont Custody Center, as reported by the Fresno Bee, with the ordinance to be voted on in a ballot at a later date. The operation would be run by Southern California’s already established Ocean Grown Extracts.
Opening a major extraction operation would signal a major change in Coalinga’s politics and economy. In the 90s and early 2000s, the city’s prison employed around 100 people to keep convicts (many of them drug offenders) behind bars, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
When state budget cuts led to Claremont Custody Center’s shutting down, the city was economically bruised. But Ocean Grown plans to employ roughly the same number of people who were laid off by the prison closure, 55 to start with and eventually 100. So Coalinga has essentially switched sides in the drug war and will make money off medicating rather than imprisoning people.
The factory would apparently focus on CBD extracts, though the company’s Instagram page looks like the company swings both ways when it comes to CBD and THC. That should still make it technically illegal according to California’s manufacturing controlled substances laws, but authorities might smile on CBD heavy extracts than high THC ones.
Coalinga’s Mayor Ramsey assured the city’s doubters that extracts coming out of the prison were for medicinal, not recreational use, though he didn’t do so in the most eloquent or knowledgeable fashion.
“They put it in a vaporizer thing and use it that way,” he said. “It doesn’t get you high. Well, I would probably get high if I did it, but those who use it regularly don’t.”
Councilman Steve Raine was a little more sure footed in his advocacy of the project, saying, “If we didn’t provide anything for people in need or who are hurting, I’d be embarrassed by that.”
Photo by Flickr user daily sunny