In Temecula’s Wine Country, Weed and Grapes Don’t Mix

In some of the state’s wine-producing regions, cannabis has received a warm welcome. But that’s not the case in Riverside’s Temecula Valley. Temecula’s wine industry and government officials continue to oppose marijuana in their midst. And even a proposed ordinance to allow pot businesses in most of the county’s unincorporated areas would shield the region’s wine country by default.

Southern California Responsible Growers Council President Micah Anderson summed it up this way:

“Wine is socially acceptable here. Cannabis isn’t.”

In an email, the Riverside County Planning Department called commercial cannabis cultivation incompatible with long-term planning for the Temecula Valley wine region.

The resistance has served as a blow to many cannabis entrepreneurs who had hoped to see a new cannabis-wine frontier when marijuana was first legalized. So too did state regulations which later banned the mixing of THC and alcohol.

There was a time when people thought they’d see wine and cannabis making side-by-side in this picturesque region. But because cannabis is still banned under federal law, wineries also risk losing their licenses by doing so. The reality, says Anderson, has “left a lot of broken dreams.”