Prison Becomes Cannabis Farm
An abandoned prison in Coalinga, California will soon be turned into a commercial cannabis plant. The site will be used to process and produce medical marijuana extracts.
The Coalinga City Council recently voted 4-1 in favor of selling the now-dormant Claremont Custody Center to cannabis company Ocean Grown Extracts. The old prison will be used by the company as a facility for making medical marijuana extracts. They hope to have the whole thing up and running sometime within the next six months.
The decision came on the heels of a larger process of legalizing medical cannabis in the city. Back in January the Coalinga City Council unanimously voted to allow medical cannabis to be grown, sold, and delivered inside city limits.
Things got a little controversial when there was some pushback from local groups who didn’t like the changes. But by March things settled down enough that the city started negotiations with Ocean Grown Extracts. And after last week’s vote, the city has now decided to sell the old prison to Ocean Grown for a total of $4.1 million.
But the deal comes with a list of security requirements. All employees at the facility have to pass a background check and will be required to carry a permit. The plant will also have to be gated, locked, and under 24-hour camera surveillance. Ocean Grown will have to take odor control measures, and every cannabis plant will be equipped with a tracking device to ensure nothing is stolen.
Despite all this, there’s a lot of optimism so far. For starters, the new medical marijuana plant will provide some much-needed jobs. And the $4.1 million sale price will pull the city of Coalinga out of debt. Up until now, the city had somewhere between $3.3 million and $3.8 million of debt.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer 100 jobs and make safe medicine available for patients,” Ocean Grown co-owner Casey Dalton told local reporters. “We appreciate Coalinga taking a chance not only on us but the industry.”
What It Means For Medical Cannabis
This is an exciting development that could demonstrate some of the real benefits of medical cannabis. By first legalizing the use of medical cannabis and then opening itself up to the commercial production of medical cannabis, the city of Coalinga may very well give itself a game-changing economic boost. Of course, the full extent of these outcomes is yet to be seen. But it’s an exciting first step.