Pot vs. Art: How the Marijuana Industry is Hurting Artists in Oakland
Since Oakland's massive Dec. 2 fire, there has been endless talk about the city's squalid warehouses and the lack of ‘safe spaces’ in which its artists can think and create. In light of the revelations about the flagrant safety violations and the city’s failure to flag them, many fear that the coming crackdown on structures like the Ghost Ship could make the problem even worse.
For many artists, however, the real threat comes not from transplant yuppies or city inspectors, but from fellow members of the counterculture itself. Former members, anyway. All over the city, artists are being kicked out of the buildings where they hone their craft to make way for the well-heeled pot trade.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a fascinating piece on this growing phenomenon:
East Oakland was already popular for pot growers long before the city began crafting medical cannabis laws. The deep-pocketed growers can afford premium lease rates.
Or they can just buy a building and kick tenants out. That’s what happened to Ruth when the warehouse he was living and working in was purchased in April.
The building, valued at about $630,000, was purchased for $1.5 million. Ruth had attempted to buy the building, but he was outbid by hundreds of thousands dollars. The selling price is indicative of a neighborhood inside Oakland’s green zone, a designated area for marijuana cultivation.
Ruth tried to buy some time because he was in the middle of a project he’d been working on for two years and, without his furnace, he can’t make glass. But profit won the day and he was evicted on Oct. 5.
Read the entire article here.