The cannabis industry in California is completely different than it was a year ago with the legalization of recreational marijuana coming in July. Going into 2019, companies in the Coachella Valley are paving the future of the industry.
“I’ve been in the business for fifteen years,” Julie Montante, the owner of PSA Organica and the 420 Lounge, said. “I came from when it was illegal and then legal and we have just taken such leaps and bounds.”
With the legalization, comes taxes. Montante was paying ten percent in taxes when recreational use was illegal but now that it’s legal, she pays 43 percent. She hopes that number can be decreased for her customers with the help of the Palm Springs City Council come the new year.
“It’s becoming more like a pharmaceutical product now,” Montante said.
Dominic Sanchez, a cannabis salesman with Flurish Vapes, said the cannabis-using demographic is changing from twenty and thirty-year-olds to forty and sixty-year-olds.
Plus, the state is demanding a better quality product through extensive testing.
“Everything must be lab tested, everything has to be tested by them [the state] then brought forward to the dispensaries,” Montante said.
In Palm Springs, Montante runs PSA Organica, a dispensary, the 420 Lounge, a recreational cannabis lounge and has a big project in the works.
“It’s 40,000 square feet of dispensary, lounge, pool tables, we’re just going to bring everything else and make it a one-stop-shop for everyone,” Montante said about the soon-to-be 420 Bank and Lounge.
The lounge will have Las Vegas-style robotic arms serving CBD-infused smoothies, live music and an assortment of cannabis items for sale.
The 420 Lounge and Bank building used to be a bank and has been vacant for years. Montante said the project should break ground in early January and be done within a few months.