Desert Hot Springs Moves Closer To Canna-tourism

Nico Payne

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Desert Hot Springs will be the first valley city to move closer to allowing cannabis use in concert venues and hotels.

The city council voted unanimously on this ordinance Tuesday night and says this will put Desert Hot Springs on the map when it comes to canna tourism.

“A marijuana entertainment facility means any facility or location, the primary function of which is an entertainment use such as a movie theater, bowling alley, concert venue, etcetera,” said Doria Wilms, Assistant City Manager with Desert Hot Springs.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can walk into any hotel or movie theater right now and start smoking marijuana. These entertainment facilities will have to be built specifically for this purpose, and follow city guidelines.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, cannabis sales are on pace to rise 40% over last year, despite a global pandemic, and Desert Hot Springs wants a piece of that revenue.

“Desert Hot Springs has always been founded on the health and wellness, so why not move into the health and wellness of what cannabis can do for people utilizing our boutique spas,” said Scott Matas, Mayor of Desert Hot Springs.

As for dozens of dispensaries who are worried about lost revenue…

“This should not impact our dispensaries because it will be an in house thing. Our TOT has risen over $80,000 dollars this year so far, we haven’t gone negative so we do have visitors still visiting Desert Hot Springs,” added Matas.

Some local businesses are concerned about the impression it could have on young people.

“I don’t see the point of them doing something like his because the city won’t have control of what the youth will do, said Sofia Ortega, Owner of Papaya’s.

“The dispensaries have proven over time to be some of the safest businesses in desert hot springs, we’ve had little to no issues in and around our dispensaries and cultivation areas because of the security measures the city council has taken,” explained Matas.

Mayor Matas says entertainment is just the next step.

“Your kind of our guinea pigs when it comes to it because you’re going to be the first ones to open these entertainment venues, and again kudos to desert hot springs, we’re inventing the wheel, not reinventing it today,” said Matas.

Both ordinances will return to the city council agenda for final consideration on January 19th.

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