Could Marijuana Be the Answer to Blythe’s Prayers?
Blythe, California is the last stop en route from the Golden State to Arizona. It’s poor. It’s desolate. It’s moribund. But could marijuana be its answer?
“There’s no shopping here. Big corporations don’t want to come here. My personal opinion is, we’ve got to do something,” retired Councilman Tim Wade told the Desert Sun.
With marijuana now legal in California, “we might as well make money on it.”
The city is trying. In 2017, three years after rejecting a ballot measure to regulate medical marijuana, the city council voted to allow cannabis businesses after all. Some 40 marijuana companies are now eyeing the Riverside County city.
"Not only is it going to be financially very rewarding, but how many times do you get to change the trajectory of a city that has had a very sad last 30 years?" said Steven Gregory, CEO of Palo Verde Center, a $200+ million cannabis development project recently approved by the city council.
There are sure to be bumps along the way. Like the far away Calaveras County, which also turned to cannabis as a way of reviving a decimated economy, Blythe’s population is relatively conservative and not all that warm to cannabis to begin with.
"This town is not what I'd call a pro-cannabis town," Gregory said. "It's like, 'We're pro-salvation. We're pro anything that will help this town survive.'"