As California’s legal marijuana industry booms, property owners and entrepreneurs are seizing the chance to transform spaces across the state into cannabis grow sites, processing facilities and dispensaries.
Marijuana grow sites are taking over vacant warehouses — or in some cases displacing tenants — in cities such as Long Beach and Oakland. Cannabis businesses are also being built from the ground up in more remote areas, such as Adelanto and Desert Hot Springs. And they’re taking over struggling sites, from record stores to boat builders.
Here are 10 surprising spaces in California that are being converted to cannabis businesses.
A PRISON: Damian Marley and San Fernando Valley-based Ocean Grown Extracts in 2016 bought a vacant prison in Coalinga to grow cannabis and house its oil extraction plant. The city made $4.1 million off the sale of Claremont Custody Center, erasing its debt and bringing in 100 news jobs.
A VINEYARD: Eighty acres that Fetzer Vineyards once used to produce and store wine was sold in the spring to Flow Kana, a Bay Area marijuana company. Flow Kana is using the Redwood Valley property to process and package marijuana from Emerald Triangle farmers.
A BOAT PLANT: Cabo Yachts built boats inside a massive warehouse in the High Desert town of Adelanto until the company left town during the recession in 2010. A cannabis cultivation operation is now taking over, helping turn the city’s struggling budget around.
A CASINO: The Iiapy Nation is building marijuana greenhouses on the site of a failed San Diego County casino. The Indian tribe is leasing grow space to medical marijuana cultivators. They’re also opening a testing lab and hoping to manufacture cannabis products.
A RECORD STORE: Amoeba Music is opening a dispensary in what used to be the jazz section of its flagship Berkeley store. A worker said the cannabis shop, which will be run by Berkeley Compassionate Care Collective, is expected to open in December.
FLOWER HOTHOUSES: Collapsing wood-and-plastic greenhouses in Salinas Valley are being replaced by high-tech European structures used to house cannabis cultivation operations. Property price spikes are fast and furious, offering financial security for struggling old-timers willing to trade petunias for pot.
A BOY SCOUT CAMP: A longtime Boy Scout camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains is on track to become a marijuana cultivation site. The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana is partnering with the new owner of the remote 240-acre camp to develop the project.
AN AUTO REPAIR SHOP: Canndescent was among the first companies to apply for a permit to grow marijuana in Desert Hot Springs, inside buildings that once housed an auto repair shop. The Santa Barbara-based company grows, processes and packages boutique cannabis in the desert site, shipping it to dispensaries throughout California.
A SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL: A retired Bay Area dentist with a company called Herbal Velocity wants to turn a former private school for children with autism into more than 5,000 square feet of organic cannabis grow space. The school site has been vacant for more than four years, with the company promising to clean up the vandalism and homeless camps that have plagued the area.
A TIRE PLANT: Bay Area cannabis distributor Purple Heart Patient Care is developing one of the largest cultivation sites in the state inside a vacant tire plant. The 1-million-square-foot operation is in the works in Hanford, a town in central San Joaquin Valley.
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