Oakland leaders attend reopening of pot mega-store

October 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
California voters have not even voted on the ballot measure to legalize pot, but the city of Oakland is acting as if it were already a done deal.

Last year, you would be hard pressed to find city leaders at an event called "Hemp Evolution," but on Sunday, they were publically supporting the industrialization of medical marijuana.

It was already known as the Wal-Mart of the marijuana world with 15,000 square feet of everything you ever needed to grow or smoke marijuana and some things no one really needs. Now, iGrow is growing even more, so much, that it changed its name to "weGrow."

"We have further plans to expand across the country. In addition to our retail store, we're taking our hydroponic distribution company 'Growup Technologies' public," partner Derek Peterson said.

Yes, they are going public, as in there will soon be stock options for the pot business. Their flagship store is in a warehouse near the Oakland Airport, but very soon, there could be a weGrow opening in a city near you.

"Burlingame is actually already operational. We're opening up a Sacramento facility here within the next month or so," Dhar Mann said.

It seems there might not be a better time to have this kind of green thumb. On Friday, the governor signed legislation decriminalizing marijuana. Getting caught with it is now about the same as getting a traffic ticket.

In a month, California voters will decide whether to make marijuana altogether legal. Prop 19 opponent Frank Lee says this "mainstream-ization" of pot has dangerous consequences.

"If passed, it would cause chaotic and disastrous results in California," he said.

That is not the way politicians in Oakland see it. Pot is hardly the taboo topic it once was. In fact, those running for mayor were on hand to celebrate weGrows's big grand reopening.

"Medical marijuana is legal and what we've done is both reduce street crime around marijuana, and at the same time, improve the product and regulate it as an industry," said councilwoman Jean Quan.

"We have four medical centers in Oakland, So, we are a natural for having an industry sprout up," said former Senate President Dan Peralta.


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