by David Downs
The Oakland city council is scheduled to hear advice on permitting pot farms today in closed session, according to councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan's office. Kaplan's assistant Jason Overman said outside legal counsel Meyers Nave will present.
The city council hired the Oakland firm in February to provide guidance after Oakland City Attorney John Russo refused to further assist the city in the matter, citing the potential illegality of the council's plan.
Both Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag warned city leaders they could be brought up on drug trafficking charges if they proceeded.
Oakland had planned to permit up to four very large indoor commercial marijuana growing operations, the output of which would dwarf demand in the city and the region.
Oakland attorney Robert Raich, who took a medical marijuana case to the U.S. Supreme Court, said he'd advise the council to consider permitting small-scale closed-loop grows that are tied to or owned by Oakland's dispensaries.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo advising prosecutors to deprioritize enforcing the Controlled Substance Act against "individuals" using medical marijuana in unambiguous compliance with state law.
California state law has determined storefront sales via cooperative or collective — as well as cultivation for said co-op or collective — is lawful, argues a recent policy memo issued by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
Mendocino has begun permitting gardens under 100 plants through its Sheriff's Department.
In 2010, the Oakland Fire Department responded to 7 fires that included a pot garden in it.