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Coachella Valley candidates talked cannabis in the desert

Bob de Groot, CEO of Flying Dutchman, inspects flower in the business’s cannabis greenhouse located in the Coachillin’ cultivation business park in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. on Monday, July 27, 2020.  Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun

In the Coachella Valley, where five of nine cities allow legal cannabis businesses, election season offered industry insiders a chance to hear from would-be policymakers about the burgeoning industry’s future in the desert.

While no new desert cities are considering opening up to new cannabis business, the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network held candidate debates for all the cities that currently regulate business activity.

Jocelyn Kane of CVCAN, who moderated the forums, sees the elections as an opportunity to educate current and potential policymakers on what’s happening in the industry.

“We ultimately did these forums as educational, not political,” Kane said. “They are certainly engaged and concerned about the cannabis industry, whether it’s from the standpoint of economic activity and jobs, or learning more about it.”

The group doesn’t endorse candidates. But separately, some individual cannabis businesses,such as The Lighthouse and Royal Emerald Trading Co., have donated to candidates in cities like Coachella and Desert Hot Springs.

Forums were held for Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert and Palm Springs. A debate was also scheduled for Coachella candidates on Oct. 20, but it was canceled that day after a majority of candidates informed CVCAN they could not attend.

Here’s what candidates in each of the four cities said about cannabis:

Cathedral City candidates mull development

In Cathedral City, where two council spots are up for election, four candidates at the CVCAN forum tossed out ideas on how to potentially spur more business that could help the city’s bottom line: There’s about $4.5 million budgeted to come to the city from cannabis tax revenues this year.

District 1 incumbent Rita Lamb said future cannabis businesses have to be meticulously researched to make sure they’re “good and viable for our community.” Progress on the large indoor cultivation facility Sunniva on Ramon Road has stalled for legal issues that “have nothing to do with the city,” but show why it’s important to vet companies, she said.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Melissa Daniels on The Desert Sun

Published: October 29, 2020

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