It is an industry that blossomed in the oversize metal warehouses of old-line Oakland businesses. Established trucking, plumbing and construction companies, scrambling for work in a down economy, opened their doors to Ebyam’s cannabis farms, thought to be the largest in the city. His workers, mostly the bud-trimmers who assure the highest-quality medical marijuana, were organized by the Teamsters.
But the failure of the statewide marijuana legalization initiative last fall, and subsequent threats from federal prosecutors, derailed the ambitious plan of city leaders to license four giant farms and thus make Oakland the legal cannabis capital of the country. And with the collapse of Oakland’s vision of marijuana supremacy came disaster for Ebyam.
Ebyam is now locked in litigation over the $1.25 million sale of one of his growing operations, and another installation has been decimated by a string of suspicious burglaries — a fitting symbol, perhaps, of an industry that could have been.
“The morality tale of Yan’s grows is perhaps the morality tale of the Oakland ordinance,” said James Anthony, a medical marijuana lawyer in Oakland. “The size, the money — it all attracted too much attention.”