At least we get a break from Snoop !
Los Angeleno reports…
The Cypress Hill alum gets real about L.A.’s cannabis culture.
Before B-Real rapped the lyrics “Hello, my name is Dr. Greenthumb” in 1998, the L.A.-born musician had already achieved critical and commercial success as a member of the iconic Grammy-nominated hip-hop group Cypress Hill. The South Gate artist went on to solidify his status as a West Coast hip-hop legend with timeless collaborations and diverse media ventures — his YouTube show, “The Smokebox,” regularly generates hundreds of thousands of views. He’s maintained an enduring relevance that most musicians at the start of their careers would consider a pipe dream. As a cannabis aficionado, he’s also been high, like basically the entire time.
B-Real’s relationship with cannabis is well-documented, and for years, he’s been a vocal yet measured advocate. In 2016, he surprised many by opposing Proposition 64 — which legalized recreational marijuana use in California — because proposed tax rates would hamstring small shops and privilege big businesses. There might be a touch of irony to the fact that he now owns a chain of successful dispensaries called (what else?) Dr. Greenthumb’s, but only a cynic would fault him for it.
Besides, he was right. In Los Angeles, largely due to tax rates, hundreds of illegal cannabis shops dot the landscape. According to a Los Angeles Times report, these shops “have a massive competitive advantage, as they offer lower prices by skirting the state’s 15% cannabis sales tax as well as the city’s 10% rate.” It’s hard to run a legit operation when consumers, often none the wiser, chose to patronize shops with cheaper prices.
B-Real’s latest venture, a Dr. Greenthumb’s location in downtown Los Angeles, opened its doors in October 2019 and falls into that minority class of legal, fully licensed shops. In this interview with Los Angeleno, the artist slash businessman discusses the challenges of opening a legal dispensary in Southern California, offers some advice for the canna-curious and dives into our city’s unique relationship with cannabis.
How did you get started in the dispensary game?
I wanted to start a brand with Dr. Greenthumb outside of music when [cannabis] started to go medical. I started off doing a Dr. Greenthumb granola bar and stuff like that. Little by little, it was about getting the brand in the cannabis industry. We had been approached about doing some stores and stuff like that, but we wanted to build the brand a little bit more and wait for the right situation before we made it into the store. When it started to open up here in California in terms of making cannabis products, I thought the Dr. Greenthumb name from Cypress would be a good brand, and a good avenue to get into the cannabis industry because people were familiar with the song. It pretty much went from there, from being a brand with a strain to eventually opening stores.
What products will you carry in the shop downtown?
We’re going to have a lot of our Insane brand stuff, our good friend Cookies’ brand stuff. We’re going to have Marathon. I mean, all the top-shelf products. We pretty much try to work with everyone and try to have everyone on our shelves that the consumers hear about and want to try. It’s gonna be an array of flavors man, I gotta tell you.
Is there anything special about opening up the newest location in downtown L.A.?
Well, I mean opening up any of the locations is great. I mean Sylmar, the flagship shop, that was amazing because it was something that became a reality. But opening in Los Angeles, which a lot of our fan base and the consumers have been calling for … We kept on saying it was something we were working toward and finally we were able to get that situation and lock it in. It’s great, you know, because this is our backyard, Los Angeles. To be able to have a shop in Sylmar and Los Angeles, I think those connected the dots for us. It’s a great situation, man. We’re really excited.