Monday, August 02, 2010


The U.S. War on Drugs is nuts. That's by now an old and ever more widely shared sentiment. But how can policy makers get out from under the mess? Is there a winning political coalition in sight? This morning's LA Times includes this story about Oakland, which may show the way.
Jeff Wilcox lopes across the nearly empty parking lot, aiming for a large brick building. Inside, he excitedly shows off the cavernous space, once used to make wire, vacant now for a decade. He imagines it running 24/7, filled with glowing lights, gurgling irrigation systems, whirling ventilators and workers coaxing thousands of pungent marijuana plants to bud.

And that's just one part of his proposal. Wilcox, a retired builder, owns a campus of aging, idled industrial plants. On a wall in an unused conference room, a sketch of the property shows how he could fill most of the 172,000 square feet with growers raising high-end pot and entrepreneurs turning out brownies, drinks, tinctures and other products.

"My idea was a business park of cannabis," he said.
The story mentions support from Oakland City officials. Just marry industrial policy to local government budget shortfalls to pot policy reform.