This Kern County Outlier Looks to Broaden Its Horizons with New Strains of Cannabis Industry

Can California City become a pot oasis in a dying desert?

In the early 1970s, California City was a lakefront community bustling with real estate promise. Since then, however, the city has taken on a new nickname, one that mayor Chuck McGuire is hoping to change with the cultivation of a new cannabis-friendly approach. “We won’t have to be known as Cal Shitty anymore,” says McGuire. “It’s the beginning of an image change for us.”

Along with Arvin, a small farming town, Cal City is an outlier in the notoriously pot-unfriendly Kern County. The state freed the weed and legalized recreational cannabis back in January 2018, but it left it up to municipalities to allow or prohibit sales.

If Mayor McGuire and other local politicians like City Manager Tom Weil get their way, Cal City will be a pot oasis in an area that’s very much weed-free, which McGuire says will benefit everything from their local veterans to the once promising lake community.

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Photo by Craig Dietrich.