DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. – Under a mercifully mild sun, a group of people gathered yesterday afternoon at a pair of nondescript new buildings located on the outskirts of Desert Hot Springs, California, to celebrate the grand opening of a state-of-the-art, 9,600 sq. ft. cannabis cultivation facility built by Santa Barbara-based Canndescent. Numbering a few hundred at most, the assemblage included the Canndescent crew and families and friends, assorted media, local government officials, members of the industry, and a Boy Scout color guard.
Before a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the shade of one of the buildings, guests and reporters were taken on early afternoon tours of the facilities, which feature the latest technologies controlling every aspect of the cultivation operation. From massive air conditioners to motion and vibration sensors to huge walk-in bank-styled safes that double as panic rooms (just in case), the facilities are built to sustain a very high level of production, with the goal of producing around 225 pounds of high-grade cannabis every month, with every flower hand-trimmed. The buildings may be brand spanking new, but the grow room in one of the buildings had row after row of beautiful young cannabis plants standing straight in their light-drenched pots.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony began with the Boy Scout color guard presenting the flag for the pledge of allegiance. The crowd recited every word from heart. Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas stepped to the microphone, and spoke honestly about what it means to the city to have companies like Canndescent make it their home.
“Our budget right now is $15 million, and we have some tax issues coming up in a few years that we’re going to have to deal with,” he said. “But over the next five to ten years, we face the prospect of tax revenue that should take this city to the next level, where we can clean up our roads and gutters and really make the city beautiful. That’s what I want to see. As someone who was born and raised here and lived here my whole life, and seen the roller coaster that we’ve gone through politically, I’m just so pleased to be mayor of this community and lead these efforts today.”
Canndescent principals Rick Fisher, Randy Patten, and Adrian Sedlin then made a few comments. Canndescent CEO Sedlin gave heartfelt thanks to staff and spouses, and also to the city officials who helped bring Canndescent online in a mere 5 months. He then made two announcements. First, he announced that Canndescent will pay up the Go Fund Me account for one of the Boy Scouts so that he can go to Washington, D.C. for a national scouting conference. At the back of the crowd, two family members of the boy began crying softly and hugging one another when they heard the news.
Sedlin also announced that Canndescent was paying Desert Hot Springs a first revenue bill in the amount of $135,000, and produced a giant-sized check, which the mayor and city council members gladly posed holding for photos.
A reception followed, but the meaning of the Canndescent ribbon-cutting ceremony was already as set in stone as the commemorative plaque the company plans to place in front of the facility to mark the occasion. Thursday was nothing less than an historic and deeply significant occasion—for Canndescent, which worked hard to become the first locally licensed cultivation facility in Southern California; for city officials, whose hopes for a bright future for their beleaguered city are being rekindled by cannabis; and for the industry, which wins big every time a city steps forward as boldly as this one has to embrace the plant.
Photo: Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin gestures to the indoor grow room during a tour of his new cultivation facilities.