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Canna-Preneurs Thrive In Growing Business Climate

By Rene Ray De La Cruz Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Laura Hardin, founder of a marijuana delivery service says businesses are springing up all over the High Desert as marijuana becomes legal on several levels in the state.


As local municipalities craft marijuana ordinances, a crop of cannabis entrepreneurs are already blooming in the industry.

Many of those business and cannabis-minded individuals will have their hands full on Thursday when countless marijuana lovers will toke, smoke, dab and light up on the unofficial holiday known as "Weed Day."

Over 50 vendors will display their canna-goodies at 420 High Desert Hot Box at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. Laura Hardin said her High Desert 420 delivery team will be there to meet new and prospective patients at the eight-hour festival.

Hardin, who lives in Oak Hills, said she began her delivery business over 20 years ago as a result of her own illness. Today, she delivers medical marijuana-based products to patients all across the High Desert.

"Businesses are springing up all over the High Desert as marijuana becomes legal on several levels in the state," said Hardin, who was working double duty on the eve of Weed Day. "We'll see who the real business people are once the state begins issuing licenses and regulating growers, producers and collectives."

Hardin delivers medical cannabis products to some 250 regular patients with an average age of 45. She said her client list of about 4,000 individuals includes doctors, attorneys, teachers, housewives, students, politicians, seniors, veterans and other people who "need the medication."

Hardin said the price of flower has decreased across the state since medical marijuana was legalized. She believes the price will continue to plummet, making it "very affordable for the patients who need it."

"For many of us, helping patients to save money and to feel better is the purpose for our businesses," Hardin said. "That's not always true for some businesses owners."

California is looking at an annual estimated $7 billion cannabis industry next year once the state develops some 20 different types of business licenses. Many current businesses are already adapting to the growing cannabis culture, including Daniel DeMaio, owner of Dad's Poker Night Casino Parties rental service.

"We started our business about 14 years ago and started hosting cannabis-themed parties when it became legal," said DeMaio, 39, who lives in Hesperia. "We're starting to see more people coming out of the cannabis closet and asking us to host their cannabis party."

Besides hosting traditional parties, weddings, corporate events and anniversaries, DeMaio said his Cannabis Party Rental business offers events where guests can enjoy smoking from unique glass pieces as well as the newest vapor technology available.

Events hosted by DeMaio's business can include a crew and bud-tenders who will teach adults how to grind, roll, pack and clean for a "fresh bowl every time." His team also provides a variety of equipment, materials and decorations needed for a "ganja night in."

"We even hosted traditional parties for the Sheriff's Department and the City of Victorville," DeMaio said. "We're professionals and we do everything by the book."

DeMaio said he cringes every time he witnesses unsanitary and unsafe practices conducted by other businesses at various events.

"If we want to take eliminate the stigma of cannabis use, we need to eliminate the unprofessional and criminal element of the industry," said DeMaio.

Irene Herrera said she launched "Doggie Downers" after traditional pet medication would not relieve her dog's stress after one extremely loud Fourth of July weekend.

"Waldo was climbing the walls after they started shooting off fireworks in my neighborhood," said Herrera, 37, who lives in Hesperia. "The vet gave him meds, but that didn't help at all -- that's when I bought some low THC cannabis from a local delivery service and blended it in his dog food."

After Waldo, a brown and white terrier, finally calmed down and slept after consuming the medicated dog food, Herrera began baking marijuana-infused dog biscuits and giving them to her dog. Five years later, Herrera sells her biscuits across Los Angeles County and "where ever fireworks are sold."

"The industry is wide open and ripe for new cannabis entrepreneurs," Hardin said. "We'll see how things evolve in 2018."

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