The “Mecca” of American cannabis is located in a California city that seemed doomed to die. It is called Adelado and not only managed to get out of bankruptcy but aspires to become the Silicon Valley of cannabis. “Growing greenhouses and factories processing cannabis for medicinal purposes have managed to reverse the fate of a city that was slowly dying into poverty,” writes Spanish newspaper El Mundo. This pharmaceutical cannabis industry last year yielded $6.7 billion in profits to companies in this small town.
At first glance, the sign at the entrance to the city is a strong irony. “Welcome. City of Adelado, the city with unlimited possibilities. The first picture with nothing indicates that it is the focus of a multibillion-dollar industry because of cannabis cultivation. You need to knock on the doors and start greeting the locals to discover a dazzling phenomenon: Inside many greenhouses there is a green sea of cannabis plants. Manuel Serrano, a businessman of Mexican descent, claims to be the visionary who started it all. He is the head of a handful of businessmen who manage to turn a poverty-stricken city into a … gold mine. The innumerable cannabis day business legalized in California for medical use in 2015, have completely eradicated poverty in Adelado, located 135 kilometers north of Los Angeles and near the road to Las Vegas. “I realized there was an opportunity,” says Serrano, who is now the owner of a vast area of industrial buildings housing about 22,000 square meters of cannabis cultivation and processing.
As reported by the ANA, the 68-year-old Serrano initially spoke to the mayors of the local cities to tell them about the benefits of cannabis but no one paid attention to him. “In fact, I was advised not to do it because it would damage my credibility and reputation,” the businessman recalls, adding that “the only one who listened to me was the mayor of Adelaide, Richard Kerr.” “The danger of Adelado dying is now over,” the mayor explains. “This has changed with cannabis and now we are one of the strongest cities in the region that has been deserted so far,” he says. “Cannabis is only the core of the development.Now will come restaurants, gas stations, hotels, offices for doctors and lawyers. We create a city. We have already turned the money we got into parks, streets, a public library. We are the Mecca of cannabis, the Silicon Valley of marijuana, even at the United States level. A former sailor and soldier in Vietnam, Kerr was always against marijuana until he began to be informed and realized that it was the only viable outlet for his people. “Either we accept marijuana or we ended up as a city in bankruptcy. We had made it clear at the time of the selection,” he tells El Mundo.
“I didn’t know anything about cannabis and now I’ve become an expert,” admits Serrano, whose expansion plans have no limit. He is convinced that he will recoup his investment in a year and that in three years he will have a real profit explosion. “Of the 60 cultivation licenses that exist today, I estimate that 40 will be successful, with an average income of $36 million per year per crop. That is, about $1,440 million, of which the city will get 5%, 72 million,” according to the number of businesses In just one year, the municipality of Adelado has revenues of seven million dollars from marijuana compared to a total budget of 17 million. “It’s the city’s main income right now,” mayor Kerr confirms. “I compare it to the production of beer or champagne,” Serrano says with a laugh. “Although I like beer, champagne is always better. And here we do champagne or better the best marijuana in the world.” “We have the best experts from different parts of the world, Spain, Australia, England. They discovered that we exist and now they are working with us. A Canadian company, Lifestyle Delivery Systems, has also been in Adelaideland for a year.”
Reducing youth unemployment
The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that jobs are being created at local level. First of all it concerns young people who were unemployed and now they can have a salary, work in something they like, buy a car, keep a family,” says the mayor. “Now people know who we are globally. Marijuana has put us on the map. We have the best in the world.”
Sales of cannabis products do not stop growing and already there the consumption exceeds the elements with those of beverages, such as Coca-Cola. According to a study by Cowen & Co., mass alcohol consumption has declined in states where cannabis is allowed to be used for recreation. Currently, cannabis can be used for entertainment in nine U.S. states and Washington DC, while in 29 other states it is legal to use it for medical purposes. According to data from ArcView last year in North America legal cannabis sales amounted to $6,700 million, an amount that is expected to triple by 2021, with California being the sector’s locomotive.
“We want to make a city with a lot of tourists from Los Angeles and those who go to Las Vegas,” says the mayor. “We want people to perceive the city of Adelado as a special, elegant, comfortable place where people will want to spend a few days or even stay permanently. Think of the spectacle of a miracle in the desert.”