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Berner stood with his name in robin eggs blue at a Little Rock medical marijuana dispensary April 15. His crisp, pressed shirt gave the impression that he was a relaxed corporate retailer and not the streetwise San Francisco hip hop and weed mogul that he has been for 15 year.
Berner was still a walking advertisement for Cookies, a major-name marijuana strain, and the brand Berner gave his Haight Street clothing, lifestyle and retail store.
“Cookies” is tattooed in cursive on the bottom edge of his right hand, and when Berner isn’t wearing a gold-plated marijuana leaf around his neck, he’s typically sporting a trademark curliequed “C”It is adorned with gems. For $5,999, you can order a smaller Cookies pendant in solid-gold online.
“We’re bringing a taste of California to Arkansas,” said Berner, born Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr., who was the main attraction as hundreds crowded a grand opening at Berner’s by Good Day Farm in west Little Rock. “It’s a real milestone to be operating in the South. I never thought I would see it happen.”
Chenal is a growing area in Little Rock, not a suburb like the Cookies company’s news release describes. But the retail collaboration at 11600 Chenal Parkway will be the first in Arkansas to offer Cookies’ “unique cultivars and one-of-a-kind apparel,”It was.
“The last time I was in Little Rock, I was on a tour with Snoop and we had a blast,” Berner told Arkansas Business, speaking over the thump of a live DJ and a din of Cookies customers grabbing complimentary burgers and chips from the Purple Cow’s table in the parking lot.
It turned out that the spacious lot was a selling point for this new location. Good Day’s old dispensary at 900 S. Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock had only about 10 parking spots, according to Ryan Herget, the dispensary manager.
Herget is a Little Rock entrepreneur who created the food delivery app Chef Squad and sold it to DoorDash. He’s now with Good Day Farm Retail management; a Pine Bluff cultivation center, Good Day Farm Arkansas LLC, is also affiliated.
“The Rodney Parham store was popular but just too small,”Herget stated. “So having this amazing building in this great part of town — with multiple more parking spots — it just allows us to offer a better experience.”
The dispensary was sold to new owners last month. It has 4,043 SF. Ironically, the previous tenant was a Lifeway Christian Store.
Berner, who believes swimming an hour per day is a key to success and revels in his past as a former operator of a cannabis club and developer of the “Girl Scout Cookies”Jai, also known to be Jigga, is the cultivator. Related brands for cookies include Gary Payton (Cereal Milk), Georgia Pie, Laughing Gas & Peach Cobbler and Georgia Pie. Along with marijuana and cannabis products, the shops also sell Berner’s clothing and skateboards.
“Everyone here is devoted to giving people a good journey,”Berner stated. “This is the way that California medical cannabis was when I started: more personal interaction. We’re glad to be able to bring that to Arkansas with an excellent partner, Good Day Farm.”
The state approved a new ownership group for the cannabis dispensary last month. A capital infusion last summer set the stage for this move. Alex T. Gray, a dispensary licensee from Little Rock, was one of the new owners and investors who raised $6.2million in the 2021 securities offerings. Some of the proceeds were used for the purchase of the dispensary license from Natural State Wellness Dispensary, which was purchased in November 2020 at an undisclosed cost. Natural State was licensed on Rodney Parham in January 2019 as Harvest House of Cannabis, and Little Rock House of Cannabis.