“The ‘Wild West’ days of medical marijuana dispensaries are now over, courtesy of a new law signed by Governor Jerry Brown. September 2, 2011”

By Lisa Morgan

It seems that for those who have invested in the business of dispensing medical marijuana, it has been an uphill battle to keep their doors open. Many have not survived. To hear some of them tell it, it’s a battle between good and evil: good being the dispensaries that are offering something that is helpful to the community, and the evil of a closed minded community and an even more resistant city government. One Palm Springs dispensary has stood the test of time. This is their story and reasons why they are still operating, when others have been forced to close their doors.

Owner Gary Cherlin first began researching medical marijuana as he watched his grandfather suffer from cancer. “My grandfather was ill. I had a number of friends who were ill, and I saw how the medications and prescriptions – all the regular routes didn’t work. They especially didn’t work for my grandfather who had cancer. He was very sick, wouldn’t eat, and his medication had negative side effects. I saw how the edibles had helped so many people get better. I did a lot of research. I knew it wasn’t main stream, but I quickly learned through my research how beneficial it was. I found out that cannabis has been used for thousands of years.” With a tone of amazement, he shared, “I ended up finding out through my research, that my great grandparents were most likely getting cannabis based tinctures from their doctor or pharmacy. That’s what motivated me initially.”

When I asked him why his business was still operating while so many others had closed, Gary shared from his experience. “We started out the right way. We got licensed by the City of Palm Springs. That process started over 4 years ago. Then we spent a year and a half, going to city council meetings, doing what was required to get licensed by the City. They were giving out two licenses at that time. I believe we were given the first one, and they’ve given one more since then. We are now, fully sanctioned by the City of Palm Springs. I think what’s happened, is during the proliferation of the other dispensaries in the area, many of them were not zoned properly or they never applied for the proper licensing by the cities.”

I shared with him that there seemed to be an impression that the City didn’t want the dispensaries and were making it difficult for the business owners. He explained “The city recognizes the importance to having medical marijuana dispensaries. There is a large elderly and chronically ill population here in Palm Springs. The City recognized the need for them and was willing to license a couple of dispensaries years ago. That’s how we got involved. They helped us make sure we were able to get licensed. Per state laws, you have to be a certain distance from schools, playgrounds or churches, and they made sure we were industrially zoned before we got our license. I believe most of the dispensaries that have been closed weren’t zoned right. They simply might not have been the proper distance from the institutions that they were required to keep a distance from.”

With all the work and due process, I asked Gary what keeps him on task. Gary replied, “What keeps motivating me now, is seeing the improvement of patients when they come in. It is just amazing. That’s what drives me ~ to see what it does for people and knowing how much it helps.”

You can find out more about Desert Organic Solutions by visiting their website at desertorganicsolutions.com but only if you are 18 years or older. They are just over the 10 freeway and 5mins from downtown palm springs at 19486 Newhall Street, Ste. 102, Palm Springs, CA 92240. Their hours are 10 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday. Questions can be submitted to Info@desertorganicsolutions.com.

There are three legally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Palm Springs.