By Heidi Simmons

“We are ready to provide the best and safest cannabis,” said Julie Montante, Owner, Palm Springs Associated Organica, (PSA Organica) in Palm Springs.  “We will be open on January 1st at 6:00am, and we are excited to meet new clients and help them find the right cannabis product.”   

PSA Organica has been permitted by the City of Palm Springs to sell cannabis to adult consumers in the New Year.  “Recreational” cannabis can only be sold legally through a licensed dispensary. 

Recreational Use


Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Cannabis Act of 2016 allows adults 21 or older to possess, consume and cultivate cannabis in California beginning January 1, 2018.  On the first, for the first time in California history, recreational use marijuana can be legally purchased. 

“We have the widest variety of cannabis strains and largest inventory of cannabis related merchandise in the valley,” said Montante.  “We are preparing to have ample supplies of cannabis to meet the demand, and I’m confident that new users and those returning to marijuana for the first time in years will find something they will feel comfortable using.”

At the time this article was written, PSA Organica was the only Palm Springs dispensary permitted by the city to sell to adult consumers starting January 1st. 

Montante has secured a “Temporary State License” and is in full compliance.

The other five existing Palm Springs dispensaries were in the permitting process with an additional 10 businesses still applying. 

Medicinal Use

Dispensaries will continue selling medicinal marijuana and products without change.

Medicinal use cannabis will remain available to those with “medical cards” and its price and tax rate will remain the same, where as non-medicinal users will have a higher price point and be paying a higher tax rate. 

Rolling With The Changes

The State of California has been diligently preparing for this auspicious date, but has not yet completed the regulation and legislative process.  

To meet the January start date, the State has put “emergency provisions” in place allowing cities to move forward with dispensary applicants who have demonstrated due diligence and State compliance. 

For those dispensaries that have met necessary approvals and are consistent with all applicable State laws, and are in good standing with city licenses, a “Temporary License” can be issued by the State, which is good for 120 days with an option to renew while California continues to hone guidelines and hammer out the details related to adult consumption use and safety.

Cathedral City has issued licenses to 11 dispensaries, which allows the sale of both medicinal and adult use.  However, each dispensary must obtain a State license to make “recreational” sales legal. 

Desert Hot Springs City Counsel voted Tuesday on an “Urgency Ordinance” to allow all cannabis businesses – retail, cultivation, manufacturing, testing, etc., — in good standing, permission to sell to adult consumers upon verification of a State license.   Currently, DHS has eight dispensaries in operation.

To sell “recreational” cannabis legally on January 1, dispensaries must have appropriate verification/permission and licensing in hand. 

Some valley dispensaries are not applying for adult consumption “recreational” licenses due to higher fees and tax regulations.

Getting Started

Montante is thrilled to be able to serve adult consumers. 

“If you are a new client trying cannabis for the first time, you are going to get the same quality product and care that we provide our medicinal users,” said Montante.  “Our bud tenders are educated about cannabis, knowledgeable about its related products and friendly.  We are happy to sit down with you, and help you get re-acquainted, or get started.” 

PSA Organica is currently in the application process and has filed paperwork to open a dispensary in the City of Palm Desert, where Montante hopes to be able to sell both Adult and Medicinal cannabis.  The dispensary will open next year. 

Montante wants people to know that while cannabis has many benefits, it can affect people differently and what works for one person might not work for another.  Genetics, biological sex, biochemistry, life-style, tolerance, and overall health can factor into how cannabis may affect users.

Quality Products

Concerned that people may be purchasing cannabis oils off the internet or at street fairs where there is no way to know if the products are safe or lab tested, Montante believes people will now have direct access to quality, well-established cannabis products.   PSA Organica sells cannabis oils like CBD and RSO, which are believed to help cancer patients and people with chronic pain.

“It is essential to know the product you are purchasing and its quality.  We can help you find the right cannabis strain and a dosage to meet your needs,” said Montante.  “It’s important to find what works best for you.  Some people are more sensitive than others, and there are different ways to consume cannabis.  It’s very personal, and that’s why we are here to assist.”

Expanding Industry

The cannabis industry has not been dormant over the past several decades.  If it has been awhile since you consumed marijuana, you will be surprised to see how much has changed.

There are a myriad of cannabis products from pre-packaged joints and electronic pipes, to candy bars and gourmet foods all with a professional look and feel of well-designed and crafted merchandise with bar codes and “Nutrition Facts.”

“If you are concerned about your lungs, you don’t have to smoke cannabis to get the desired effect,” said Montante.  “We have vape pens [vapor inhalers], edibles and topicals.  There is such a wide variety of cannabis products, we want to make sure you get what you want, and feel comfortable with whatever you walk out with.”

Most valley dispensaries have closed off waiting areas, intimidating security guards, and a dispensary hidden behind plain walls and heavy doors as if shielding a clandestine club secret where patrons sit subdued and perhaps a little suspicious before being buzzed in one at a time. 

Welcoming Atmosphere

While PSA Organica provides a safe and secure dispensary, the atmosphere is welcoming.  The facility has a large lobby and lounge area that is open, inviting, and comfortable.  There is a positive energy and pleasant hubbub as friendly people come and go. 

“The Collective That Cares” is PSA Organica’s motto.  The approachable, easy-going style was paramount to Montante when she designed the dispensary. 

“We pride ourselves on making people feel comfortable.  There is nothing to fear.  We are receptive to new customers,” said Montante.  “We have worked with many of our patients since we opened in 2015.  Our bud tenders know most of our clients by name.  There should be nothing intimidating about purchasing cannabis.”

Motivated to Help

Montante is passionate about helping and educating people about marijuana.  Her interest in medical cannabis began when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.  She wanted to find alternative ways to help her mom fight the disease.  That interest led her to 15 years of cannabis research.

After her mother’s death, Montante continued to help friends and family.

“I learned so much, I knew I could help others.  There are so many benefits, I wanted to open a safe place where people could come and ask questions about cannabis and try it without fear.”

Now that PSA Organica will be including adult consumption, along with medicinal cannabis use, Montante hopes people will continue to educate themselves about cannabis. 

When Proposition 64 was on the ballot, Montante had mixed feelings about adult consumption “recreational” use. 

Montante became motivated to pursue her licensing for adult consumers so they would have access to the same quality and safe products as her medicinal users.  Since its inception, PSA Organica has maintained strict guidelines and high standards. 

 “There is a lot of bad product out there.  I want to make sure people have access to quality cannabis that is bug and toxin free,” said Montante.  “When you buy from a licensed dispensary, you should be getting a product that is certified, lab tested and chemically safe.”

Controlled Environment

PSA Organica has its own 20,000 square foot cultivation site, which is a state-of-the-art facility.  Montante and her growers have developed a system so no water is wasted and can be reused and recycled eliminating sewer systems or septic tanks.

Having its own grow operation allows PSA Organica to maintain strict control of the cannabis strains they sell.

Private Use

Adult non-medical consumers may possess one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six plants.  It is illegal to smoke while driving and to drive under the influence of cannabis.  For now, smoking cannabis is restricted to private property. 

The State of California has been diligently preparing for this auspicious date, but has not yet completed the regulation and legislative process.  Cannabis laws will continue to be shaped and formed as the industry matures.

To meet the January start date, the state has put “emergency provisions” in place allowing cities to move forward with dispensary applicants who have demonstrated due diligence and state compliance. 

State licenses to sell to adult users “recreational” will be issued in January.  

Whether you are an adult consumer or medicinal user of cannabis, Montante encourages keeping records of your purchases and notes so if you want to try a stronger strain or find something milder, bud tenders can be more helpful.

Giving Back

Part of PSA Organica’s mission is to help the homeless in Palm Springs. 

The dispensary collects canned goods, clothing, toys, blankets, jackets, etcetera, to give to local charities.  Montante works year-round assisting those in need, but says during the holidays and winter the needs are greater.  She always appreciates the generosity of those who bring useful items to the dispensary for donation.

“There is no longer a stigma around marijuana,” said Montante.  “You don’t have to look over your shoulder any more or worry what someone might think.  There are good cannabis products for your health and recreational use.  If you are 21 or older and never tried cannabis, I encourage you to come in and see what the cannabis industry has to offer.”

PSA Organica is located at 400 E. Sunny Dunes in Palm Springs, CA 760-778-1053.