Cannabis is king in this Southern California desert region
It’s no secret that California is rife with cannabis tourism. But, if you aren’t from California, you might think the weed-legit region mostly thrives in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. However, just 110 miles east of Los Angeles, in Riverside County there's a mecca of marijuana culture and tourism. There, you'll find the artsy, progressive desert communities of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella, home of the famous annual two-week music festival.
Palm Springs is the center of these desert resort towns and has been known for decades as a vacation home paradise. Celebrities, politicians, world leaders, pro-golfers, retirees, and tourists from around the U.S. and the world flock to the Palm Springs area to enjoy lavish hotels/resorts, fine dining, shopping, and -- more recently -- cannabis. During the summer months, temperatures are always over 100 degrees, but for the remainder of the year, the climate is dry but temperate.
A bit of history
In 2014, Desert Hot Springs became the first city in the Southern California region to allow full-scale medical cannabis cultivation, which boosted their cannabis tourism profile. Since the laws have changed to allow for recreational adult use as well, the city now also has multiple adult-use recreational and medicinal cannabis cultivation facilities as well as several state-licensed dispensaries. Other cities like Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Coachella also have multiple state-licensed cannabis cultivation facilities, medical and recreational dispensaries, and even a cannabis consumption lounge.
The following is a taster of dispensaries, lounges, and other cannabis-friendly destinations to visit in and around the Palm Springs area. Keep in mind, there are hundreds more and each has its own character and culture.
Where to Stay
Hugh Kaptur's Mid Century Mid Palm Springs Getaway
Beautiful Cannabis Friendly House
Enjoy your stay in a luxurious spot with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The 2,000 sq ft home sits on a corner lot with magnificent views to the San Jacinto Mountains. The interior has been lovingly and extensively remodeled. The floors of the house were recently done throughout with "Terrazzo-look" ceramic tile that creates a gorgeous modern feel. Quartz countertops provide plenty of counter space, both on the long counter under the windows, and on the open island with bar seating - a perfect place to sit and enjoy the mountain views. Price: $800/night.
Guesthouse With Private Hot Springs Oasis
Located on the lower west side of the 100-plus acre ranch, with its own entry driveway, between two natural warm lakes, bubbling up from the depths of the nearby earth, the Oasis Guesthouse connects guests to the center of the earth, grounding them with nature. The Guesthouse is an open concept building with 1,456 dqu. feet of space updated with beautiful finishes and furnishings. There are three queen bedrooms with heavy velvet curtains instead of doors, one bathroom off the master room and one bathroom next to the main living area. Full kitchen with washer/dryer area. Price: $300/night.
Where to Get Your Weed On
Four Twenty Bank
296 S. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA
Four Twenty Bank isn't just a dispensary. It's also a lounge where you can take the cannabis you just purchased and use it with like-minded individuals in a safe, comfortable environment. As an added bonus, there's a performance area, where musicians schedule jam sessions and stand-up comics stage open mic nights. There's nothing but positive vibes to take in as you enjoy cannabis tourism with other weed afficianados. Hang out, elevate your consciousness, and enjoy the entertainment. Whether you prefer smoking, vaping, edibles, or concentrates, Four Twenty Bank has got you covered at what they promote as "the world's largest cannabis consumption lounge."
Dr. Greenthumbs Cathedral City
68333 Perez Rd Cathedral City, CA
As part of a chain of legal dispensaries throughout the state, the Cathedral City location serving this desert community is owned by Cypress Hill's legendary rapper, lyricist and weed entrepreneur B-Real. Having been in the game long before it became trendy, he's a guy who knows quality and potency when it comes to cannabis, concentrates, and edibles. When it comes to cannabis strains, B-Real has a reputation for providing the best of each. The Dr. Greenthumbs moniker comes from the titular 1998 Cypress Hill hit. The store schedules regular events with guest appearances by musicians and cultivators, and promotes raffle prize giveaways and special deals. Forget Dr. Feelgood, check out Dr. Greenthumbs.
4693 Ramon Rd. Palm Springs, CA
This is a small business, independently owned boutique style dispensary and lounge in Palm Springs. With a focus on providing the cleanest, safest possible cannabis products to consumers at a reasonable price, Reefer Madness offers a wide variety of high-quality, tested cannabis flowers, cannabis edibles, concentrates, pre-rolls, and more. Once you purchase your goods, you can stay and hang out at the lounge and mellow out with other like-minded cannabis enthusiasts. The place boasts great deals on all types of cannabis products, seven days a week.
West Coast Cannabis Club
The Club has three dispensaries: Two in Palm Desert, one in Cathedral City. Aside from offering the highest quality cannabis products such as flowers, pre-rolls, concentrates, and edibles, West Coast Cannabis Club delivers weed by car, making it more convenient for you to get your goods. The company is vertically integrated and strives to provide consumers with products that meet and exceed standards in terms of potency, flavor, and effects (or so says their promotional material). Just check out their website.
With one store in Palm Springs and another in Coachella, the Lighthouse offers over 300 cannabis products and hires staffers that know their weed. More than just ‘bud tenders’ these are cannabis consultants who will gladly inform you about the various strains, and products The Lighthouse carries. Their goal isn't just to get you to buy from them, but to explore, learn and enjoy.
Green Pearl Organics
64949 Mission Lakes Blvd # 108
Desert Hot Springs, CA
Since 2015, Green Pearl Organics has been serving this desert community with medical, and now recreational cannabis. The establishment offers flowers, pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, tinctures, edibles, and more. The store also has a wide variety of CBD products. Green Pearl Organics offers daily deals, and delivers to the surrounding desert communities.
84801 Ave 48
Coachella Greenery offers consumers high-quality cannabis products like extracts, concentrates, pre-rolls, flowers, tinctures, edibles, and more. The dispensary is open seven days a week till 10 p.m., and you can order online and then pick up your purchase in their store. Conveniently located between Interstate 10 Freeway and Highway 111, Coachella Greenery serves medical and recreational cannabis and cannabis products to the Coachella Valley and desert community.
Stuff to Do
CannaBus Express Tours
Palm Springs Desert
For those who want an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek of the desert cannabis industry, this Cannabis Bus Tour through the Coachella Valley and surrounding desert communities is a must. Visitors will take a three-hour trip in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter Limo to visit various cultivation facilities and dispensaries. Cannabis expert tour guides provide details into the inner workings of the business. Though smoking and consumption of cannabis are not allowed during the tour, the last stop on the trip is a local cannabis lounge where you can purchase and consume. Or BYOW. Check the website for more information and for the latest Covid-19 restrictions.
Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival
Empire Polo Field
81800 Avenue 51
Indio, CA 92201
Every year, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival brings the biggest, best, and most promising artists to the Empire Polo Field in Indo, California for a three-day extravaganza that has become the talk of the town -- and towns across the globe that follow music events. What began as a hipster indie rock fest has turned into a cavalcade of mainstream talent. The lineup in 2022 included Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Swedish House Mafia, The Weeknd, and dozens more. The 2023 event will likely be held in April and will be announced soon. In addition to putting on a yearly pop/rock festival, Coachella has booked festivals starring the top classic rock acts in the business and stages smaller shows throughout the year.