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May 17, 2023
Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto
Welcome to Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto

In This Episode

What happens when a city on the verge of collapse tries to reinvent itself? How much will it cost? Who will pay the price? Reporter David Weinberg spent years following one California Mojave desert town’s transformation from a city of prisons to a city of pot. And it worked… Until it didn’t. From Crooked Media, this is Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto.

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David Weinberg In 2014, Adelanto, California, a small town in the Mojave Desert, was so broke, there was talk of dissolving itself completely. Then along came John Bug Woodard, Jr, a 63 year old gun toting conservative hippie who had a wild idea to save Adelanto. I got on all Google. I did a little googling and I found out the secret. The secret according to Bug via Google. Was cannabis. I’ve heard those cannabis shops make a lot of money. Bug’s plan was to make Adelanto the first city in California to legalize commercial cannabis cultivation, which it turns out is a very difficult and complicated thing to pull off.


Guest It’s hard to overstate how much riskier and more dangerous the cannabis industry is because of the inconsistency between federal and state law.


David Weinberg But still, Bug persisted and his idea started to catch on with the rest of the city. The wheels are in motion. Ain’t nobody getting in the way. I don’t care if you’re a sheriff. I don’t care if you’re the governor. I don’t care who you are. What started as a simple solution to revive this small town would lead to a series of backroom dealings and a shocking scandal that would spread far beyond the city limits. I knew that cannabis was going to become just absolutely a fucking battleground for the wealthy.


Guest I seen that duffle bag of money come in and it didn’t go to the bank.


David Weinberg I don’t want to is a Spanish word that means progress. But Adelanto, California, has a history of outsiders with big plans that often seemed too good to be true and of its leaders taking advantage of the citizens and ending up on the wrong side of the law. To developing news. The FBI served several search warrants this morning in Adelanto. According to the Victor Valley Daily Press, agents raided City Hall and the mayor’s home. This is the story of what happens when citizens decide they’ve had enough. And take matters into their own hands. I didn’t have a choice but to get up and to fight. We got up and then got to work. Let’s go. I’m David Weinberg and this is Dream Town, The Story of Adelanto. From Crooked media coming June 7th. Wherever you get your podcasts. For early ad free access to episodes. Join Friends of the Pod Crooked’s new subscription community at crooked dot com slash friends.