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Small Towns Find Opportunities In California's Legal Cannabis Industry

Richard Vogel / AP Images

This Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 photo shows a customer checking the various blends of marijuana from this season's harvest for sale during the High Times Harvest Cup in San Bernardino, Calif.

Richard Vogel / AP Images

As California gears up for a massive expansion of the state’s legal cannabis industry, small towns in the Inland Empire see an opportunity. Some are competing to welcome cultivators—and their money. 

For a desert town east of Los Angeles that has struggled financially, the emerging pot industry might be a chance to stake a claim in something huge.

“The green rush so to speak, you know,” says Eli Owens, managing partner of Seed to Soul Farms in Desert Hot Springs.

The industry is bringing in lots of money—like, doubling six-figure offers for a parcel of desert land-type money. Owens says other towns in the area are afraid of being late to the party.

“In any industry you have a supply and demand curve, and what’s happening right now is you have a lot of people that are coming in and they’re working on the supply. And no one really knows where that supply and demand curve is going to end up,” Owens said.  

One nearby town that may follow suit is Yucca Valley, which is set to vote next year on allowing marijuana cultivation. 

Daniel Potter

Reporter

Daniel Potter started out as an intern at Nashville Public Radio, where he worked as a general assignment reporter for six years, covering everything from tornadoes to the statehouse.   Read Full Bio 

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