Desert Bloom


two hours away in Los Angeles. “I was working construction. Our family has worked in construction for years,” Stacy says. But in order to get my medicine, I’d have to Leave work, He to my dad. My wife would be pissed because I’d be gone for five hours to get this product; it cost a lot of money and would only last two weeks. I was living this secret Life just to get my medication. I got pissed off one day and decided to see what I could do about opening a dispensary.” There were no collectives of any kind and no medical scene to speak of in Coachella Valley. Also, this is a part of the country rife with conservative voters. But Stacy was undeterred: He found a location in Palm Desert, about 20 miles east of Palm Springs, acquired a business license and opened his doors. A different kind of heat soon ensued. Multiple attempts were made to shut Cannahelp down. The city challenged the legitimacy of his business license. Search and arrest warrants were issued. Stacy remained defiant—until the day that Palm Desert established a safety commission. As one might expect, its first order of business was to declare Cannahelp unsafe. After two years of fighting, Cannahelp closed down. Stacy returned to construction in Palm Springs, but the work was harder on him now. In my family, you gotta work on the job!” he laughs. “Forty hours a week with no intestine, no absorption of water in the summer’s 120-degree heat—I couldn’t work summers. I started to get depressed.” But not for long. “In sorne ways,” he muses, “I feel this is what I was meant to do. I do want to change this world for my four kids.” Stacy decided to reopen Cannahelp in Palm Springs. He obtained a business license, worked closely with city managers and attorneys—and when California issued fresh guidelines in August 2008 for medical-marijuana patients and dispensaries, Stacy announced that he would open Cannahelp’s doors again within a few weeks. When the city dragged its feet on writing a municipal ordinance for medical-marijuana dispensaries, Stacy stirred the pot a touch more by calling the media and announcing that he was
opening anyway. Still, hoping to maintain a good relationship with city officials, he acquiesced to their wishes and closed down a few days later. But while awaiting a green light from the city, he built the infrastructure of Cannahelp on a sprawling industrial property. So when he finally got the go-ahead, he was ready. There have been speed bumps along the way—such as the complete overhaul required of the facility to make sure it strictly complied with fire codes—but today, Cannahelp is a fully licensed and valued member of the Local business community. Its headquarters is a former print shop that closed down, Leaving its employees—some with 20 years of service—hung out to dry. Stacy added them to his staff as maintenance and security personnel. Nine employees now make up theCannahelp staff, including two budtenders and five

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