With the rise in legal cannabis in California, as well as the rest of the country, a plethora of well-known personalities within the entertainment world have parlayed their performance successes into the Golden State’s blossoming marijuana industry.
Of particular note is Cypress Hill frontman B-Real, who has publicly proclaimed the joys of cannabis ever since bursting onto the worldwide hip-hop scene with the group’s self-titled debut album in 1991.
In the following years, B-Real established himself as an authority in the 420 culture with nine studio albums, various smoking and accessory product lines, and a long history of cannabis cultivation.
And while a growing number of celebrity types continue to make their way into the cannabis scene with an ever-expanding list of products, B-Real has taken things a step further than most.
Rolling Into the Cannabis Industry
In addition to offering smoking accessories like Phunky Feel Tips and his Insane brand of cannabis flower, B-Real also provides customers with physical locations where they can purchase the products.
In August 2018, B-Real opened his first legal dispensary in Sylmar, California.
The move represented a monumental shift in the culture, taking the previous norm of black market cannabis sales in the streets to white-label marketing in legal shops.
With B-Real’s long history of cannabis in music, there was already a natural fit for branding his shops.
Dr. Greenthumb and Cypress Hill IV
In September 1998, Cypress Hill released an iconic single that would become an anthem for the group and create an alter ego for B-Real.
B-Real says that when the band presented Dr. Greenthumb to the record label, they initially balked at the idea of including such a boldly pro-cannabis track on the album.
California’s Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215, had passed only two years prior in 1996, and en for medicinal use, cannabis was still quite the taboo subject.
Instead, the label wanted a song that was more along the lines of Cypress Hill’s widely popular track Insane in the Membrane.
But Cypress Hill followed their instincts, stuck to their ganja guns, and Dr. Greenthumb made it onto the Cypress Hill IV album, which debuted in October 1998.
And even though media outlets like MTV censored cannabis references in the song, it went on to become one of Cypress Hill’s most popular tracks.
B Real says that Dr. Greenthumb has mass fan appeal and will draw huge reactions during performances.
According to B-Real, Insane in the Membrane will always elicit an enthusiastic response from crowds at live shows, but Dr. Greenthumb is even more popular with the fans.
B-Real says that when Cypress Hill released Dr. Greenthumb, he never would have imagined he would be opening a chain of legal dispensaries twenty years later.
Even though medicinal cannabis was permitted under Prop 215 in California when Cypress Hill recorded the track in the late 90s, the state of legal cannabis had a long way to go before brick-and-mortar shops would achieve a status of normalcy and acceptance.
Such shops had no chance of survival under the political and legal climate at the time.
But before Dr. Greenthumb was an iconic Cypress Hill song, and later a dispensary chain, it was a nickname that B-Real and his fellow cultivators gave each other in the days when cannabis existed in the prison of California’s prohibition policies.
Dr. Greenthumb Will See You Now
When opening his first dispensary in 2018, it seemed only natural for B-Real’s alter ego Dr. Greenthumb to become the name and face behind the brand.
After opening the first Dr. Greenthumb’s shop, B-Real expanded the brand with locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Cathedral City.
Additional locations are currently in the works, one of which will be near LAX International Airport.
B-Real recently opened his sixth Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensary on Campo Road in La Mesa, California, with a grand opening celebration on Saturday, October 2.
In addition to a broad selection of cannabis products inside the dispensary, the event featured an array of attractions outside in the parking lot.
A variety of vendor booths lined a section of the parking lot underneath the shade of the California State Route 94 overpass, shielded from the heat of the day, which was around 88°.
Lowriders and Lunch
Also in the parking lot was an impressive display of ornate, shiny, and exquisitely-detailed lowriders from members of San Diego’s Groupe Car Club.
The group of cars even included a gold metallic-painted child’s pedal car with a chrome steering wheel, emblem, and spoked rims
Next to the dispensary, there were some food options available to attendees.
People from George Lopez’s Chingon Bakery served up pan dulce and tamales at their table while Big Petes handed out bottled water and free unmedicated samples of their edibles.
I tried one of their Insane Churro cookies, which had just come out of the oven.
Having made their market debut in May 2021, the Insane Churro cookies are part of Big Pete’s collaboration with B-Real.
Medicated versions of the cookies are infused with 10mg each of THC.
The cookie I had was soft, flavorful, and one of the most delicious baked edible products I’ve tasted.
It’s one of those edible products that you might want to have unmedicated versions of to prevent you from eating too many.
Because as we all know, you can always eat more, but you can never eat less.
Dr. Greenthumb is in the House
At around 2:00, B-Real made his way to the parking lot for a meet-and-greet with an entourage of attendees of the grand opening.
For the next hour, the hip-hop veteran signed autographs and took photos with fans in front of the Dr. Greenthumb’s step and repeat banner.
B-Real also took time out of his busy day, which he said was also a good day, to talk with me about his music, the dispensary, and the cannabis.
B-Real says that the La Mesa dispensary license wasn’t the easiest to obtain, but things fell into place with just the right timing so that everything ultimately worked out to facilitate the opening of the sixth Dr. Greenthumb’s shop.
With the success of his dispensaries in California, B-Real says that moving into other cannabis-friendly states is something he has planned for Dr. Greenthumb’s future.
And he says it’s always been part of the plan.
“…the team felt like that if we got it down here first, we can introduce it to the world after,” says B-Real. “So we’re looking forward to that…getting shops open in other states that are cannabis-friendly and retail-friendly and giving them that California experience in their state.”
In regards to California cannabis, B-Real says that the state is a pioneer that produces top-notch flowers, and Dr. Greenthumb’s is helping lead the way.
“Even just the quality of the cannabis here…it’s hard to top,” says B-Real. “And that’s not…just saying like—our brand. We know we’re one of the best out there, but…people may know that, they may not know that.. But either way, whether we’re in the game or not, there’s plenty of amazing cannabis here in California. There’s so many great producers, and it wasn’t like that ten, fifteen years ago. But it is like that now, and I think we’re at the forefront of that.”
Along with the Dr. Greenthumb’s brand, the entrepreneurial B-Real has given the public an array of cannabis products and smoking accessories.
B-Real offers cannabis flowers in strains like Insane OG, 3x Crazy, and Em-Dog, and edibles through his collaboration with Big Pete’s.
B-Real also sells Phuncky Feel Tips, a line of glass crutches for joints, for those who like to roll their greens with something special, stylish, and comfortable.
In September, B-Real released an ultra-limited edition Phuncky Feel Tip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cypress Hill’s debut album, which contained the track The Phuncky Feel One.
As part of a collaboration with the G Pen creators, B-Real also has a line of Dr. Greenthumb’s vaporizers and accessories.
In addition to providing quality cannabis, B-Real prides himself on the cleanliness of his products, something that the spread of legalization has helped facilitate in the industry.
“What we’re in now allowed folks to clean their shit up and made people clean their shit up,” says B-Real. “Some wanted to be clean, some didn’t. But if you wanna exist in this business, you’re gonna have to abide by the rules. And why wouldn’t you want clean cannabis, clean products? We don’t want pesticides in anything.”