Coalinga’s new oil boom: Proposal would transform empty prison …

This city founded on the discovery of a petroleum field is looking to strike it rich in a new oil industry. Instead of relying on the black gold pulled from the ground for jobs and economic stability, Coalinga could find future wealth in marijuana by transforming its vacant state prison into a cannabis oil cultivation and manufacturing operation.

Last month, Coalinga Mayor Ron Ramsey and City Manager Marissa Trejo fielded a proposal from Southern California-based Ocean Grown Extracts to turn the 77,000-square-foot Claremont Custody Center into a marijuana growing operation.

The City Council supports the plan, which has numerous economic benefits, but faces a tough battle to convince Coalinga’s 13,000 citizens to become the first community to accept medical marijuana in the conservative central San Joaquin Valley.

Trejo spelled out the economic benefits at a March 3 council meeting.

The lease and tax payments from renting the old

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