Oakland's tech startups are reportedly being gentrified out of their spaces by deep-pocketed marijuana growers


It’s not just the DEA and such. It’s also the fact that these businesses, although legitimate and legal in the state, are still denied access to the banking system. They’re overwhelmingly cash-based, with the attendant risks. Oh, and the growers are often underwritten (funded) by far-away interests. Miss your harvest, and you might get a visit from Lenny the Legbreaker. Which creates a very strong incentive to steal the crop from your competitor.

Growing indoors alleviates these risks. But giving them access to the banking system is the real change we need.


Put them on the farm bill.

If we’re gonna give people crazy incentives to grow useless feedlot grade corn for ethanol that doesn’t actually make E85, we may as well pay people for growing pot that is sold directly to the end consumer.


Definitely with a vibrant marijuana based economy you can expect taco trucks on every corner. maybe also other fast food, and sales of mountain dew and potato chips can also be expected to increase.


I think you are giving early stage legal marijuana capitalism too much credit here, wait until it matures a bit and there will be EULA’s, smoking habits tracking etc.


It is a bubble. Growing cannabis in a warehouse is stupid. It costs nothing to grow it outside. Realistically the price should be less than lettuce, since it is harder to grow lettuce.


But… isn’t that what the bros eat?


You can grow a crop every 12-15 weeks indoors, as opposed to 1 crop a year outdoors. You can also decide exactly how big you want your plants to get, so you can pack more plants per square foot indoors. With LED lights getting good enough to use industrially, and the fairly huge quality difference between indoor and outdoor, it’s actually the outdoor growers who are already going out of business.


right, but they won’t be around to enjoy it. it’s the best of both worlds!


I think I found the bubble. If all you said was true we would be growing all our plants indoors. Once the laws loosen, there won’t be any point of growing cannabis indoors. What makes growing indoors profitable is that growing outdoors in most places, (like Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico), is still illegal.


It’s actually mostly the quality of the end product along with the variability of nature. Indoor grown is going to be better - it’s a controlled environment that can be fine tuned to the strain’s needs and you get a consistent result pretty much every time. As I mentioned, outdoor weed in Oregon was going for about 25% of the price of good quality indoor this past summer. Outdoor crops depend on soil conditions and weather and can be easily lost to too much or too little rain, mold and fungus, predators or any other number of factors.

There’s also the clone factor. Outdoor crops are almost always grown from seed. This means variability and often the possibility of males that need to be culled, with the further risk of cross pollination. Indoor crops are protected from any cross pollination and are often cloned and sterile, so the grower knows exactly what the plant is going to do. This leads to further consistency and efficiency.


Aren’t a lot of people talking about indoor farming becoming more common even for vegetables? It seems like every year I read more buzz about things like large solar panel driven indoor farms making headway and being profitable. I’m not a farmer though so my experience is zilch. Still think the bubble is a bubble though.


Pot has existed a lot longer than computers in Oakland. Gentrification is a weird word to use in the context of a largely exploitative industry being pushed out by businesses that actually produce goods to be sold.


Shorter headline: Adderall Workshops Replaced by Marijuana Startups


Except, it doesn’t work that way. My country just recently legalised. Even where there is space to grow, they’re installing greenhouses.

Indoors means you control the lights and weather, so a good windstorm or unseasonable weather won’t destroy your crop. You control how much water it gets, and even the quality of that water. You can prevent or at least limit contamination sources. In other words, it’s predictable, which is by far the preferred trait in industrial-level production.

The bubble is the exact same one as the 90’s tech bubble. Anyone with a few plants and the ability to secure financing is diving in to what is actually a limited market. It’s not even a novel thing.




Have you ever tried programming…


isn’t programming/sysadminning under the influence a time honored tradition?


The main difference I see is quality vs. yield. A vine ripe tomato fresh from my garden is worth the time and energy I put into it. That same tomato isn’t really going to survive a multi state, multi day trip. So we have bland shitty, picked barely turning, tomatoes (or limited seasonal farm fresh). Maybe at some point the tech will be there to automate a great deal of it, but I’m not sure I see that happening in my lifetime.


Except that surveillance capitalism is the point for tech startups. It’s cool to create a new software package that solves some kind of problem. But at the end of the day, it’s all about how you collect your users’ private information, bundle it, and sell it off to someone else.

The marijuana industry is all about marijuana, and has a long history of avoiding things like, “real names” and “locations” and other personal info that could lead to a bust. If the industry ever does dip into surveillance capitalism, it will be a sideline, and a weak one. I can always grow my own pot, or buy it from a friend who grows.


First, most MJ operations are not hydroponic. They are still grown in dirt or similar in a Controled Environmental Agriculture(CEA) facility. CEA is typically an completely enclosed structure where every aspect is controlled. MJ growers do it to guarantee a high quality crop that can be produced repeatably. It is VERY energy intensive.

The biggest benefit is its developing the technology and infrastructure to grow lettuce, basil, micro-greens, tomatoes…so many products that we desire year round. These products are not as energy intensive and can be sustainably grown (energy and economically) indoors year round. When you look at the energy to grow it indoors vs. transporting it, you see the future of agriculture.