Ex-construction executive Jeff Wilcox has a $20 million bet riding on the future of marijuana commercialization in California. That’s what the Sacramento Bee says his AgraMed Inc. has invested in an Oakland warehouse and a bid to open a “business park for the cannabis industry.” He hopes to lease the space to pot growers, bakeries, labs, and processing facilities and to create hundreds of well-paying jobs.
Wilcox is in limbo after Oakland officials suspended a plan to issue four licenses for factory-scale production of medical marijuana. Wilcox is only one of many suitors for the coveted permits who suddenly have cause to worry. Oakland City Council members approved the plan to tax and license the industrialization of marijuana in July. At the time, Oakland was preening as the epicenter for a California initiative seeking to legalize pot. Then Proposition 19, defeated by voters Nov. 2, drew the ire of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who said the federal government wouldn’t tolerate retail pot sales in California. Oakland’s ambitious cultivation plan – designed to service the existing medical pot economy and potential recreational use – also drew the suspicion of federal agents, who contacted the city. Now, the process is on hold amid fears of government raids.