Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 3, 2010
It's weed to the rescue for Orange County leasing agent

The recent experiences of Santa Ana office and leasing agent Blanca Moreno may trigger discussions on whether the cannabis trade is helping California's struggling economy - or growing because of it.

Moreno had a sparkling new office building in south Santa Ana - and no tenants to fill it. "Business was so slow. I put an ad on Craigslist and wasn't getting any hits," Moreno said.

Then a few weeks ago, somebody called and asked if they could put a pot dispensary there. "That just kind of turned the light on for me," she said.

So she put out another ad: Medical marijuana space available.

"I was just overwhelmed with calls, and instantly motivated," she says.

Moreno and the building owner soon leased out three prime spaces for marijuana shops.

She also started getting inquiries from people such as Jesse Rankin, 29, a Southern California patient who said he cultivates a few "white widow kush" plants for his personal use. Rankin said he wanted grow space to become a "caregiver" earning compensation cultivating for other medical users.

"I wasn't really open to it," Moreno said.

But she said would put a call into her attorney.

"If the attorney says go ahead and do it, yes we'll do it," she said in a recent interview. "Most definitely."

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