WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — With a waft of marijuana swirling around him and an adoring crowd of fans, Woody Harrelson cut the ribbon on his new cannabis dispensary in West Hollywood Friday. The Woods opened its doors Friday. It is a mix of retail and lounge, and 100% dedicated selling the finest marijuana grown under California’s sun.
“Hopefully we’ve added more beauty and more good times here,”Harrelson spoke to an eclectic group of people who had gathered on Santa Monica Boulevard. Just moments before The Woods opened their doors, “Hopefully we can help make the West Hollywood citizens a little bit higher.”
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The Woods spans 8,000 square feet, and each area has its own personality. There’s a stylish and carefully curated indoor retail space that sells everything from joints to edibles to bongs, all of which can be delivered for free.
There’s also a bar and food service and street-side seating.
But for all of its cannabis cool, it’s the backyard space that really wows. The building is hidden behind a huge, overgrown garden that has mature foliage. You will be walking along paths past Balinese sculptures and a tree house as well as a koi pool and a studio inhabited with a pair macaws. All of it is available for patrons.
“This is the most beautiful dispensary I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot,”Spectrum News was informed by Harrelson. The actor and long-time activist in cannabis, Harrelson, flew into LA this morning to inspect the finished space and welcome the first customers.
Harrelson used live next to Devon Wheeler. Devon Wheeler co-founded Erba Markets dispensary chain. “He was always trying to get me to be a part of it,”Harrelson stated. “I don’t know why I was resistant, but I stopped resisting.”
Wheeler is now one of Harrelson’s many partners in the Woods, along with Erba co-founder Jay Handal, political commentator Bill Maher, interior designer Thomas Schoos and Schoos Design Chief Executive Michael Berman.
The Woods is filled with shelves that are covered in canisters of various bud varieties, as well as tasty displays of edibles. There are also glass counters where you can find vape cartridges and vape pen cartridges. There are also signs throughout the space to encourage you to support your local marijuana farmer.
“I have a real belief in outdoor organics. Sativa is my favorite herb,”Harrelson stated. “But what has become popular is basically indoor, what I call chem weed. And we carry that too, not wanting to slice off a chunk of our revenue right away. But my ambition is to be the Trojan Horse that helps kind of shift the way things are and make outdoor, sun-kissed what people want.”
He said that outdoor, naturally grown marijuana is a better and cleaner way to get high. “Chem weed just blows the top of my head off. I don’t see any reason for that.”
Harrelson was arrested in 1996 after he planted hemp seeds in Kentucky as a civil disobedience act. He never imagined that he would one day see this.
“There’s no way,”He said. “It’s like war. If it weren’t lucrative, there wouldn’t be so much of it. And it’s no exception to say that the war on non-corporate drugs is extremely lucrative. So I did not think it would ever be allowed. Of course, the government still gets their cut and maybe actually they get more than they ever did now.”
The Woods is the latest entrant to what is now officially known as West Hollywood’s Emerald Village — a cannabis tourist destination with at least half a dozen dispensaries and dozens of other marijuana-themed businesses on the way. Lauren Meister, West Hollywood mayor shared the scissors at the ribbon-cutting.
Harrelson looked at many locations before settling on The Woods. Two and a half year ago, Schoos was hosting an event at his studio in what is now the store. This was the first time Harrelson saw it. Harrelson walked through the space and told Schoos it was how a marijuana dispensary should feel.
“We do something that is called an experience,” Schoos said. “You’re not coming here to just buy a product. You’re coming here to experience a lifelong story that has come to fruition through some incredible minds. It’s not like, ‘Hey, I have a celebrity friend that puts some money out.’ Woody is the heart and soul who put the movement forward for decades.”
Harrelson stated that The Woods is being promoted as a flagship location, but he does not have any immediate plans to open another. “We’re not opposed to that,”He said, but for now, he wants to be able to focus on making The Woods a special place.
“Everything is changing daily in the marijuana world with what you can do and what you cannot do,”He said.
Harrelson, an avid environmentalist, would like to address excessive plastic packaging in commercial cannabis. “certainly whenever my own brand comes out,”He said, “but some of it we really can’t help because it’s other people manufacturing and doing it and we’re carrying other people’s products. But I’m hoping that we evolve to where eventually, hopefully it’s all our own stuff, and it’s packaged with the most minimal impact on the environment.”
The Woods is currently focusing on making a minimal environmental impact in other ways. The space will eventually be powered by rooftop solar and cleaned with all-natural products.
While the Woods is pushing boundaries about what can be, Harrelson doesn’t consider himself a disruptor. He claimed that the term is too negative.
He sees himself more as a proactive environmentalist.
“I want to do what’s best for Mother Earth, you know? I do a lot of things that make my footprint heavier. I fly a lot, but in terms of things I can control, like the packaging, I can’t control it yet. But I can certainly try to make inroads.”