Desert Hot Springs Cannabis Cultivation

The city of Desert Hot Springs is hoping cannabis can lift them out of a financial rut.

28 photos
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A trimmer clips flowers from a cannabis plant inside a trimming room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plant is separated into different bins based on quality before being packaged and shipped to licensed California dispensaries.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
A commemorative plaque adorns a rock outside of Canndescent, the first municipally permitted cannabis cultivator operating in California.
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Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin holds one of the company's products inside of the Canndescent offices in Desert Hot Springs. Sedlin earned an MBA from Harvard and retired to Santa Barbara before founding Canndescent with his brother-in-law.
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Five Canndescent kits are displayed on a cabinet at the Canndescent offices in Desert Hot Springs. The cultivation company produces five different categories of cannabis.
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Cannabis plants hang upside down inside of a drying room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plants spend two weeks drying in an isolated room before workers trim flowers and package the product for sale.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Cannabis plants hang upside down inside of a drying room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plants spend two weeks drying in an isolated room before workers trim flowers and package the product for sale.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Cannabis plants hang upside down inside of a drying room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plants spend two weeks drying in an isolated room before workers trim flowers and package the product for sale.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Four weigh stations line a table outside of a trimming room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. Workers weigh cannabis plants before separating the plant's flowers.
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A trimmer clips flowers from a cannabis plant inside a trimming room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plant is separated into different bins based on quality before being packaged and shipped to licensed California dispensaries.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
A trimmer clips flowers from a cannabis plant inside a trimming room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plant is separated into different bins based on quality before being packaged and shipped to licensed California dispensaries.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Two trimmers clip flowers from a cannabis plant inside a trimming room at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The plant is separated into different bins based on quality before being packaged and shipped to licensed California dispensaries.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Two-pound cannabis bags fill a plastic bin inside a Canndescent cultivation facility in Desert Hot Springs. The wholesale bags are sent to licensed California dispensaries where "budtenders" weigh the product by hand for customers.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
A Canndescent kit reads, "Transports your mind into abstract thought, unlocking creative writing, lyrics or brainstorming sessions." The cannabis cultivation company abandoned traditional strain names like "Blue Dream" and "Sour Diesel" in favor of streamlined categories and descriptions in order to make the product more accessible for consumers.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Canndescent kits and two-pound cannabis bags line shelves inside a storage vault at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The products are transported by armored courier to licensed California dispensaries each week.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
Two-pound cannabis bags line shelves inside a storage vault at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The products are transported by armored courier to licensed California dispensaries each week.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
A carbon dioxide system sits outside a cannabis cultivation facility at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. Carbon dioxide increases the yield of cannabis plants, according to Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin.
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Air conditioning units line a wall outside of Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The company's cultivation process requires temperature controlled rooms.
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Two lock boxes occupy a wall outside of a cannabis cultivation facility at Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. City law requires cultivators to provide 24-hour access to facilities for both the fire department and police department.
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A gate blocks the front entrance of Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs. The cannabis cultivator was the first to operate in the area, but dozens more are in various stages of development, including one next door.
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Freedom Flower, a cannabis cultivator located next to Canndescent in Desert Hot Springs, is under construction. The 30,000 square foot, two level facility will be capable of producing 400 pounds of cannabis each month, according to the company's website.
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Real estate agent Paula Turner outlines cannabis cultivation zones in Desert Hot Springs using maps she gives prospective investors. Mayor Scott Matas estimates Turner has played a role in 90% of the area's active cultivation projects.
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A sign advertising a cannabis cultivation zone property listing by Paula Turner's Desert Pacific Properties sits next to Little Morongo Road in Desert Hot Springs.
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A cannabis cultivation site is under construction along Little Morongo Road in Desert Hot Springs.
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A road sign is posted in an empty lot in the city of Desert Hot Springs' cannabis cultivation zone. The plot was purchased by a United States military veteran who plans to cultivate cannabis in order to help veterans.
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A bus owned by United Pentecostal Church sits in a parking lot outside the church's main building. The property was purchased from the church by a cannabis cultivator that now operates in another building, but the cultivator allowed the church to remain, rent-free.
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Sean Myers/NBC LA
A Desert Hot Springs City Hall sign occupies a planter outside of city facilities in Desert Hot Springs. The city nearly filed for bankruptcy in 2014, but a new cannabis cultivation zone and layoffs have led to a budget surplus, according to Mayor Scott Matas.
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Mayor Scott Matas points to the cannabis cultivation zone on a map in his office at City Hall in Desert Hot Springs. The cultivation zone borders the city's western border with an unincorporated region of Riverside.
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Mayor Scott Matas sits in his City Hall office in Desert Hot Springs. Matas has been mayor for a year and a half and has served on the city council for 10 years.
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