Growers and retailers in the Palm Springs area try to make their locations look appealing. (John Nelson / Evercannabis Correspondent)
You might expect California, America’s biggest consumer marketplace, to be bursting with cannabis stores since recreational weed became legalized in 2018.
You would be wrong.
Less than 20 percent of California’s cities currently allow cannabis sales, according to the California Cannabis Industry Association. Even population centers such as San Diego and Los Angeles have only modest markets.
The slow startup might sound familiar to Washingtonians, who saw similar struggles to ramp up in many cities after legal cannabis sales began in 2014.
But one place in Southern California truly is already a hotbed of cannabis: Palm Springs, where dispensaries and massive grow operations are booming.
“The whole valley has gone crazy,” said Jim Camper, president of Organic Solutions of the Desert, the oldest dispensary in Palm Springs.
The Coachella Valley, home of several municipalities that were once financially struggling, has embraced the legal weed. Town such as Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs are now home to dozens of retail stores and grow operations, Camper said.
“There’s millions and millions of square feet of grow happening here,” he said, noting that a campus the size of eight football fields is under construction in Cathedral City.
Camper has watched the industry boom since he started 11 years ago as a medical cannabis dispensary. While he faces increased competition, his facility is closest to the Palm Springs International Airport, a distinct advantage.
“A lot of people come here straight from the airport,” he said. “They don’t even bother going into town first.”
Who’s coming? Camper said increasingly he’s seeing middle-aged users and seniors, a large section of the Palm Springs population.
Published: March 01, 2019
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