Step 1: Approve massive marijuana factories. Step 2: Build massive marijuana factories. Step 3: Profit.
Jeff Wilcox, one of the men who'd like to build one of those so-called "pot factories,"
laughs at the the supposedly easy path toward a Utopian, pot-growing Oakland future. He's the best-known contender for the large-scale marijuana operations the city approved this week
. But he's just one of 192 would-be potrepreneuers -- and counting -- jockeying for only four permits.
"I'll get a copy of the RFP [Request For Proposal] and design a response to the RFP. I'll bid on it just like I was a contractor again," he told SF Weekly
. "Statistically, the odds aren't great."
Wilcox's role in pushing through the legislation that might make Oakland to pot what Detroit was to automobiles may make him the closest thing to a front-runner in the Oakland marijuana sweepstakes. His company, AgraMed, commissioned an eyebrow-raising study that claimed the pot industry could be a monetary and jobs bonanza for the city
. He's on the steering committee for Proposition 19, the Tax Cannabis 2010 legislation
. And he owns a seven-acre plot of land near I-880 and the waterfront that he'd like to turn into the Mothers Cookies Factory of marijuana.
But between today and Oakland's Utopian future as a pot Elysium, there is much to be done. In short, "You're building an industry," Wilcox says. The time frame for this is uncertain. A confident future pot factory proprietor could start building now and then hope to win the city's approval. But that's likely unwise (and certainly isn't Wilcox's plan). Should Wilcox be tapped by Oakland, he predicts he'd start relatively small -- utilizing 10,000 square feet as grow space, say, and ramping up in the future.
If the city hands out its contracts in January of 2011, as is anticipated, the first pot crop could be ready for harvest in June of next year.
By the way, yes, Wilcox has looked into what he'd have to do to make sure no one robbed his future factory. His security team: Retired Oakland police officers -- and Teamsters on the transportation side. Yes, retired Oakland cops, Teamsters, and a former contractor are going in on a city-approved marijuana grow.
Interesting times, indeed.
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