Pot Cultivation Replaces Prison Economy in California Town


Adelanto, a poor city in San Bernardino County, was traditionally known for its fruit orchards and cider before it got into the mass incarceration business over two decades ago, when it welcomed the building of four prisons on its relatively small land area.

For the town’s 32,000 inhabitants—one-third living below federal poverty levels—prison jobs sounded good.

Today, however, another industry is tapping on the entrance of this semi-arid Mojave Desert town with an even better offer.

Last November, Adelanto, which means progress in Spanish, became the second city in Southern California to permit commercial cultivation of medical marijuana.

Since then, land prices have skyrocketed as 27 companies secured permits to grow pot in Adelanto warehouses. More applications are pending, according to the Orange Country Register.

If the city approves conditional use permits, the first several thousand (of a potential half-million) square feet of pot could be growing in Adelanto by summer.

At full production, cultivators could churn out roughly 50,000 pounds of marijuana, up to six times a year, to provide for California’s growing medical marijuana industry and its soon to be voted upon recreational pot initiative.

More pot-friendly cities might jump into the fray to compete for cultivators, but for now, all eyes are on Adelanto, which calls itself “The City with Unlimited Possibilities.”

“I had nothing to lose,” Adelanto Councilman John Woodard Jr. told the OC Register. “The city could not get in any worse shape than it was. It was broke.”

“This will bring millions and millions and millions of dollars flowing into our city,” Woodard continued. “Adelanto is going to blow everyone’s mind. We’re going to blow the entire world’s mind.”

With the potential to make more money in a year than it could off the prison industry in two centuries at the current rate, many Adelanto residents are pleased to be trading prisons for pot—a gentler business plan and one that is in keeping with their agricultural traditions.

“In my personal opinion,” local real estate agent Elizabeth Brown said, “this is going to save Adelanto.”

(Photo Courtesy of YouTube)


From the Marketplace

View All