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California’s Inland Empire Cashes In On Early Cannabis Investment

“It’s been incredible to see the transformation”

Along a hot, dusty stretch of freeway in California’s Coachella Valley, a green rush is booming that not even the coronavirus pandemic can slow.

Desert Hot Springs, once a sleepy retirement community overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, Palm Springs, to the south, is transforming into a cannabis-growing capital as businesses lured by tax incentives and a 420-friendly local government pour into the small city.

“It’s fun times right now to be the mayor,” said Mayor Scott Matas, who has been in city government since 2007 and once voted to implement a moratorium on cannabis businesses.

Last year the industry contributed more than $4 million to city revenue, overtaking real estate as the biggest generator of tax profit, Matas said. City officials anticipate an even higher revenue stream from cannabis businesses this year.

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