Northern California Cities Bring Pot Growing into the Light

By Marcus Wohlsen | November 22, 2010 | 11:46 AM EST

Berkeley, Calif. (AP) - As cities get set to levy taxes on medical marijuana retailers, some localities in Northern California are already moving toward creating government-sanctioned marijuana farms to help supply them.

Cities hope to rake in even more tax revenue from medical marijuana cultivation, which has remained in the shadows although it has been legal in the state since 1996.

On Monday, Oakland will begin the application process for four permits to run industrial-scale marijuana farms within city limits.

In Berkeley, a successful ballot measure to allow medical pot cultivation in industrial zones has would-be growers scrambling to score scarce real estate.

Farther north, the small towns of Sebastopol and Eureka have also passed ordinances allowing for the creation of major cultivation operations.