California's medical marijuana growers see a new threat to their tenuous existence: the "Wal-Marting" of weed.
The Oakland City Council will look Tuesday at licensing four production plants where pot would be grown, packaged and processed into items ranging from baked goods to body oil.
The move has some marijuana advocates worried that regulations intended to bring order to the industry and new revenues to local governments could drive small "mom and pop" growers out of business. They complain that industrial-scale gardens would harm the environment, reduce quality and leave consumers with fewer strains from which to choose.
The proposal's supporters counter that unregulated growers working in covert warehouses or houses are tax scofflaws more likely to wreak environmental havoc, be motivated purely by profit and produce inferior products.