Two financially strained desert towns in California may soon become California’s highest producing marijuana locations. The town of Adelanto of San Bernardino County and Desert Hot Springs, a small city in Riverside County, are a couple of the first places to adapt California’s 2015 Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which sets the guidelines for medical cannabis cultivation and transportation. The towns are already attracting entrepreneurs from around the country and the world who want to profit from the marijuana boom.
The Rising Value of Land
The current median household income for Desert Hot Springs is $33,500, which is below California’s median. With the new industry opening, the value of the land in this small city is now worth 5 to 10 times more than what it was worth just a short while ago. Residents of the town seem to be in line to profit, along with the city itself. Higher value homes along with new business and employment opportunity is predicted and the projected tax revenue will go a long way to help these locations flourish. Mayor Scott Matas of Desert Hot Springs said “I can only imagine what we can do with the tax revenue. We’re in need of parks, our roads are dilapidated. All around — our sidewalks, curbs, gutters.”
From Desert Sands to Cannabis Cultivation
In Desert Hot Springs, there have been designated areas of barren desert, which will become the new zones for cannabis cultivation. 11 businesses have already been approved with 8 more undergoing the application process. More than 1.7 million square feet remain; land that is projected to be used by cannabis cultivation operations. Business owners will be taxed an annual fee of $25 per square feet of land, up to 3,000 square feet, with anything over that amount, taxed at $10 per square foot. Approximately 30 businesses in Adelanto have received growing permits and the town is projected to produce approximately 50,000 pounds of marijuana, up to 6 times a year.
One Desert Hot Springs business called Pineapple Express plans to have 10 buildings at a complex that will be called “Pineapple Park”. Pineapple Park will lease what CEO Matthew Feinstein calls “condos” to individual cannabis growers. One of the tenants of the complex estimated that the complex on its own would produce up to 10,000 pounds of marijuana a month. Feinstein adds, “There really isn’t another industry like this right now. This is one of the only growing industries, and the country has not seen anything like this since the big tech boom at the turn of the century.”
So far, the towns will be focused on producing medical marijuana but that could change with the November 8th election. California, along with several other states around the country, will be voting on whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21 years of age. Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and D.C. have already legalized recreational use and if California joins them in 2016, the towns of Adelanto and Desert Hot Springs profits will increase exponentially, as the marijuana boom continues to take place across the country.