High Desert's first legal marijuana dispensaries are coming soon – Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County residents looking to buy medical marijuana from a legal shop soon could have some options.

City officials in Adelanto, off the 15 freeway near Victorville, have given the green light to four marijuana dispensaries. The first is expected to open in about a month.

Two years ago, Adelanto became one of the first cities in Southern California to embrace the medical marijuana industry, approving cultivation of the plant for medical purposes. Since then, the city has passed ordinances that allow manufacturing, distribution and testing of medical cannabis.

Jet Room, which was a restaurant frequented by service members in Adelanto, is being turned into what should be the High Desert’s first legal medical marijuana shop. (Courtesy of Manny Serrano)

Those moves have helped to turn around Adelanto’s financial picture. Marijuana companies are developing more than 1 million square feet of industrial space in town, and fees connected to those businesses, along with a 5 percent tax, recently helped the city pass its first balanced budget in nearly a decade.

Council members also voted in May to make Adelanto the first city in the High Desert — and one of just a few in San Bernardino County — to approve cannabis dispensaries. City Manager Gabriel Elliott said Adelanto, for now, is only planning to allow medical shops even when the state begins licensing sales for all adults 21 and older in January. There is no plan to allow retail sales of recreational cannabis.

The council approved one dispensary for every 8,500 residents in two designated city zones. Since Adelanto has a population of around 33,000, up to four dispensaries can now legally set up shop.

Adelanto started accepting applications from would-be dispensary owners over the summer and city officials formed a committee to select the top four candidates. But

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