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Adelanto Aims to Become the ‘Silicon Valley of Medical Marijuana’

In a plot of desert surrounded by Joshua trees and aging factories, developer James Previti — in a suit coat and Louis Vuitton shades — watches as construction workers build the roof of a concrete building that from afar looks like a future Costco.

Robert Acosta of Critical Mind Inc. tends to marijuana plants in Adelanto. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Previti has spent years developing homes around the Inland Empire. But this is something new for him: a 30-acre industrial park in Adelanto divided into 21 units that will be sold to marijuana cultivators for $7.5 million each.

“We’ve always tried to be opportunistic, and we saw a place where we could fill a need,” Previti said.

As California moves toward issuing permits for large-scale medical marijuana cultivation next year, a number of struggling desert cities, such as Adelanto and Desert Hot Springs, have sought to establish themselves as destinations for growers.

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