Richard Treiber had the epiphany in December 2015, while ambling down a busy road in Richmond. Squinting at the northern shoreline, he saw a bare stretch of land and knew exactly how to fill it: with cannabis. Enough cannabis, he later said, to inject 500 jobs and up to $11 million in annual tax revenue into the local economy, and enough to draw tourists to a city long dominated by its Chevron oil refinery.
The 18.8-acre development that crystallized in Treiber’s mind that day was the type of hub that many investors and entrepreneurs began contemplating when California voters legalized sales of recreational cannabis in 2016: solar-powered green houses, nurseries, tasting rooms — something akin to a Ferry Building for cannabis.
And, as it turned out, the land was for sale. When the first phase of Treiber’s PowerPlant Park opens with 19 cannabis greenhouses, perhaps as early as February, it could be a shining model for a market that never lived up to expectations. It could, moreover, turn a struggling East Bay city into a regional powerhouse for cannabis.
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