Cannabis Hill

B-Real (left) and Tom Morello perform as part of Prophets of Rage at Shoreline Amphitheater. Photo by Sterling Munksgard /

B-Real of Cypress Hill needs no introduction to our readers. If you’ve been involved in the cannabis scene and listening to music in the last 30 years, you know Cypress Hill, specifically B-Real’s unique vocal stylings. He took time to sit down with the Emerald in Los Angeles to talk about his new dispensary, Dr. Greenthumb, the process of developing and opening a shop and how his history in music and advocacy has helped him build a brand.

Emerald magazine: You’re having a pretty big year with a new Cypress Hill album, touring with Prophets of Rage and then, of course, opening up your dispensary, Dr. Greenthumb, on August 15th. How did opening day go?

It was great! We had a great turnout. A lot of people came out, A lot of people turned up.

EM: Our biggest question at the Emerald is, how were you able to open quickly? We all know that the process can be time-consuming and complicated. So, what was the permitting process like for opening up your dispensary?

Well, the partners for Dr. Greenthumb were really diligent in getting all the licenses to ensure that we were compliant, I have to say props to my team, because without them we wouldn’t have been able to open up on the August 15th. It’s like anything—it’s a process, They make you jump through some hoops for it. Fortunately, we were able to get everything we needed, not just for licenses to open but also to find products to put on our shelves. We had to take care in selecting products that were in regulation.

Photograph by Eitan Miskevich

EM: Is this a vertically integrated shop? Are there any Dr. Greenthumb cannabis strains or extracts?

Yes, definitely. We produce some of our own line of extracts, strains and edibles as well as having other well-known name brands on our shelves. One of the main things we were doing before we opened up the shop was cultivating the brand and the products that fit the brand, because we didn’t want to depend on other sources for our materials, and my team has over 25 years of cultivation experience. The real struggle was opening up the retail location, because I needed to find the right partners to open, partners that were on the same page with me as far as what I wanted to do in the community, partners that were going to come through and do what they say they are going to do. I’m touring with Prophets of Rage, and Cypress Hill, and working on music, which means I don’t have a lot of time. So, I needed to link up with a team that was in the same frame of mind with what we could do with the brand, where we could open and make an impact, and how quickly we could do it. We wanted to open this year but didn’t want to rush it. So, as I said, the challenging part was finding the right partners. I had partners a few years back, and we had planned to open a shop in Santa Ana, but that folded because we disagreed on a few things, so I pulled the plug on that. I’ve focused on the Dr. Greenthumb brand instead, so that ultimately when we came into the market it would be with a brand that people recognized that has a reputation for quality behind it. Unfortunately, my previous plan didn’t work out, but I like to think things happen for a reason, and that led to us eventually opening up in Sylmar, which is ultimately a better position for us.

EM: Can you speak more to your location and what it means to open in Sylmar specifically?

A lot of the brands that we have in our shop definitely didn’t exist in Sylmar before. If you lived deep in the Valley, you’d have to come pretty much downtown to get some of those exotic brands of top quality. I’ve been an influencer in the cannabis community for quite some time, so diving in with the Greenthumb brand means that consumers trust coming to me, and they trust me when I say, “This product is good for you, you’ll be excited about it.” When we opened up, people knew that we will have brands that other shops in the area might not have, like Nameless Genetics, the cookies brands, etcetera. We have so many different brands in our shop, and those brands that we have relationships with know that people will come into Dr. Greenthumb expecting to see those products. You know, we want to produce our own lines, but we also don’t hate on others. We want to highlight everybody, because you can’t grow enough cannabis. People recognize that I’m willing to shine the light on someone else’s brand and not just mine, so they trust our shop in that aspect as well.

EM: Variety in a dispensary is a great boon for the success of your shop, and it sounds like you have a good spread of your own Dr. Greenthumb products as well as other quality brands. This is the Concentrates Issue, so we’re hoping you can tell us your favorite!

One of my favorites is one that we developed with Nameless Genetics. It’s the watermelon strain, and I think it’s one of the best. It’s live rosin—they call it “love rosin”—and I suggest people try that if you’re into extracts.

EM: Do you have plans to expand out and franchise?

Definitely. We have plans to continue to develop the brand and franchise out to the rest of the country.

EM: Do you have advice for entrepreneurs? I know you got into the business through music and advocacy, but what would you say to our readers who are looking to get involved in the industry?

Its doing the diligence, and knowing what exactly it’s going to take to get involved, in terms of opening a dispensary, or doing cultivation, or creating products, You have to build your brand. It’s an expensive venture, if you’re partnering up, make sure you’re on the same page and you have the same vision. It’s impossible to do it yourself, and you need to build a good team and a good brand and understand what this industry is.


Emerald contributor since April 2019


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