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Oakland, CA Dispensary A Major Force?

August 8, 2010

An ounce of Green Crack bought from a dispensa...
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Joe | Aug 08, 2010

Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA is thought to be the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, with over 54,000 members. The king of the Oakland dispensaries in terms of sales, Harborside has fought – unsuccessfully – against the city raising sales taxes and against the allowing of large marijuana farms. The point of this article seems to be what a force they are in the industry, but they don’t seem to have any political pull in their own city.

In the past, Harborside fought increasing the number of dispensaries in Oakland, which has just four. More recently, the dispensary said industrial farms would squeeze out small growers – it enlisted its small army of growers to lobby the council.

Some saw hypocrisy in a dispensary giant that fought to expand competition now saying it is the voice of small farmers against big ones.

“They’re totally two-faced on this,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University and the key backer of Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana in California.

“For the last four years, it’s just fine to have the world’s biggest dispensary,” said Lee, who owns a dispensary, Coffeeshop Blue Sky. “Now, when (large-scale farming) comes up, all the arguments against it apply to them.”

Is this just a matter of Harborside wanting to keep their market share, or  do they really only care about the quality of cannabis that is sold in their city? Either way, many in the dispensary industry in California have to see that change is coming, and it may be monumental. The passage of CA Proposition 19 will adjust the business plans of all who are currently in the state’s cannabis market. Competition will flourish, and it will be survival of the fittest.

If you own a cannabis-related business in CA, you’d be advised to get prepared for an earthquake.

Joe Klare

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