This abandoned prison in northern California is being transformed into a massive medical cannabis farm after the city of Coalinga agreed to sell it for $4.1 million.
Claremont Custody Center held more than 500 state inmates but has been vacant since its contract was terminated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations in 2011.
Now, after months of proposals and negotiations, the empty prison will soon be converted into a high-security factory where cannabis oil will be extracted from thousands of medical cannabis plants.
Earlier this month, Coalinga's mayor and councillors voted 4-1 to allow commercial cannabis farms inside city limits, and approved the sale of the former prison to Ocean Grown Extracts for a seven-figure sum.
With dozens of job losses and costly maintenance fees, the dormant prison has been a financial burden for Coalinga since its unexpected closure.
Before the sale city was carrying a debt of nearly $4 million after paying unemployment benefits and maintenance costs for nearly five years.
But the sale of the 77,000-square foot facility will immediately bring Coalinga's general fund into the black and create around 100 new jobs, the Fresno Bee reported.
The former prison's interior remains largely untouched, although it will be completely overhauled to make way for the cannabis oil production facility.
Even though the recreational use of cannabis is illegal under federal law, it has been legal for medical purposes in California for a decade.
Casey Dalton, co-owner of Ocean Grown Extracts, said she hopes the business will be operating inside the former prison by the end of the year.
'We're thrilled to be able to offer 100 jobs and make safe medicine available for patients,' she told the Fresno Bee. 'We appreciate Coalinga taking a chance not only on us, but on the industry.'
Ocean Grown Extracts and any other companies that are permitted to grow medical cannabis within city limits must abide by strict rules.
All employees or contractors must pass background checks and receive work permits that are kept on file with the local police department.
Facilities must be gated, locked and closed to the public, and have 24-hour video surveillance that can be accessed by police.
Medical cannabis farms are not allowed to post signs, they must have odor control measures and every plant must be fitted with a tracking device.