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From junkyard to pot farm: how Coachella will transform its wrecking business

 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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As California prepares for the legal sale of recreational marijuana, an industrial area in the Coachella Valley is cultivating a new kind of industry. Junkyard owners are cleaning house and starting to grow pot.

"My family has owned this business since 1978 and we've got a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it," said Brent Zimmer, who owns Desert Truck and Auto Parts. "It was a difficult decision to make, but because where the industry is going and the wishes of the city, we decided to make this choice."

Desert Sun reporter Alena Maschke joined Take Two to talk about the economics of the transition. 

"Environmental regulation plays a big part of the wrecking business's decline," Maschke said. "The price of steel, which the wrecking yard depends on, has been really unstable." 

Even though there is still social stigma attached to pot farming, some junkyard owners are encouraging the public to educate themselves. 

"I've seen pot do a lot of good, and I'm totally on board with it," Zimmer said.

In the Coachella Valley, "almost all wrecking yards will be converted, "Maschke said. "Most of these property owners have no experience in cultivation, so they will be partnering up with seasoned growers." 

Click on the blue media player above to hear the full interview