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Monday, Aug 8, 2022
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Rapper Tries Retail With Big Pot Shop

Local hip-hop star B-Real of the group Cypress Hill has opened a new marijuana dispensary in Sylmar. B-Real, whose real name is Louis Mario Freese, christened the shop Dr. Greenthumb’s after one of Cypress Hill’s most popular songs and his cannabis-growing alter-ego. Freese has long sold cannabis strains, seeds and other products under the Dr. Greenthumb brand. “The plan was to have a landing spot for products branded under my name,” Freese told the Business Journal. “We decided, ‘Let’s put a dispensary in our backyard,’ because that’s where it started for a lot of my team. The cultivation started off here in the San Fernando Valley.” The dispensary, located at 12751 Foothill Blvd., is licensed to sell both recreational and medical marijuana, according to the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. City officials have estimated there could be up to 1,700 marijuana retailers operating in Los Angeles, but only 162 currently have the proper licenses or approvals. As a part of city-wide crackdown on illegal shops, City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed 14 criminal cases against unlicensed marijuana businesses in the San Fernando Valley, according to documents obtained by the Business Journal through a public records request in June. Freese, who lives in Northridge, said the city-block sized dispensary aims to offer cannabis buyers an accommodating alternative to the rogue shops. “We built out the place from scratch when we took it over,” he said. “We wanted to have a nice open place where people could feel comfortable.” The store will also serve as a second home for Freese’s streaming video network B-Real TV, which highlights cannabis news and culture. It will host events including album releases, listening parties and meet-and-greets. “We have a small studio room for events and when we have celebrities come through,” Freese said. B-Real TV operates out of a full-size studio and production space in downtown Los Angeles. Freese plans to open a second Dr. Greenthumb’s location in Cathedral City by the end of the year, followed by a third dispensary in either downtown L.A. or Hollywood. If the stores take off, he hopes to franchise additional retail locations. For now, he’s focused on getting the Sylmar shop off the ground. “I’m there most mornings before I head down to B-Real TV,” he said. “I’ll chop it up with the fans and be present. It’s important, because I’m one of the first of the cannabis influencers with my brand name on it.” – Ethan Varian

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