Early last month, Daily Press editor, Steve Hunt, penned an opinion piece titled “When drugs cloud your vision.” The gist of the piece was that city of Adelanto officials have gone for the easy money by allowing medical marijuana cultivation facilities within city limits.
“What the city is really doing is looking for a quick buck. And what’s a quicker buck than the drug trade? But that’s precisely why the city shouldn’t have allowed cultivators in Adelanto. Isn’t that just telling kids to go for the quick buck and who cares if that buck comes from the drug trade,” wrote Hunt.
His piece fired up Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr, who penned “Adelanto’s Pot—of Gold!” The mayor explains the city’s rationale behind the decision to allow cannabis grow facilities. Unfortunately, Hunt declined to publish the mayor’s piece.
“As for the notion that Adelanto is ‘looking for a quick buck’ shows how little Mr. Hunt has researched what the City Council is doing to live up to its obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars AND to ensure that the city remains solvent to serve its residents and businesses,” Kerr responds.
The mayor goes on to explain that the city council looked at all sides before making a decision. “It’s time to draw attention to the positive aspects of the Council’s decision, and talk about the value and benefit the decision will bring to the city of Adelanto and its residents.
“The City Council thoroughly weighed the pros and cons of allowing marijuana cultivation, and only after careful and deliberate consideration, discussions and debate—chose to move forward believing that the positives outweighed the negatives, and, that steps would be taken to mitigate any potential negative consequences,” Kerr continued.
The mayor admits the city has had its share of financial difficulties but says that marijuana cultivation is only one revenue-generating proposition the council has approved to get the city out of its financial mess. He reminded readers of the various projects the city has approved or is working on:
- Eight new commercial licenses were issued,
- Five industrial licenses were issued,
- Improvements will begin this quarter for the Adelanto Towne Center at Hwy 395 & Mojave Drive,
- An 18-acre commercial development along Rancho Road has been submitted for review and approval through the Planning Department, and
- The widening of Highway 395, Highway 18 and the planned High Desert Corridor.
In his response, Kerr also went into detail about the possible revenue from the grow facilities, which includes a $7,000 application fee. So far there have been 29 applications. Once approved, each applicant will have to apply for a Conditional Use Permit, which will bring in an additional $2,735 each. Applicants will also pay fees to mitigate impacts to fire, law enforcement, and government oversight. These fees do not include an expected tax on the product, which must first go to the residents for approval.
Mayor Kerr defends the council’s decision further by saying that many of the applicants are doctors, lawyers, and businessmen. He also discusses the bias against marijuana as a medicine asking how Hunt would respond if it was instead Eli Lilly who wanted to relocate to Adelanto and produce Prozac.
The mayor concludes, “The lesson our youth and others can learn from Adelanto’s decisions is to not be paralyzed by fear of being condemned, ridiculed or criticized and therefore do nothing to improve one’s circumstances…the City Council has demonstrated bold, courageous leadership and will continue to make decisions that best positions our city to fulfill the responsibilities we have chosen to uphold.” His full response can be read here.