photo by Giuseppe Milo
People have argued the relative merits of New York and Los Angeles ever since Junipero Sera built the first mission on L.A.'s Olvera Street. But if it's access to legal cannabis you're looking for, the City of Angels smokes New York -- at least at present.
Prescription weed has been legal in California since 1996, so when recreational use was approved in 2015, there was already a network of dispensaries in place. No supply chain problem here. Cannabis is so deeply entwined in California culture that during the pandemic, dispensaries were categorized as “essential” businesses and allowed to stay open.
There are still some kinks, however. While marijuana is legal in California, each city and county can set its own regulations. This means that in Los Angeles, you can buy and possess up to an ounce of flower or eight grams of concentrate, but you can’t consume it in public. The only exception is West Hollywood, the small city intent on becoming a booming cannabis destination. Woody Harrelson, Bill Maher, Jay-Z, and Patricia Arquette are just some of the marquee celebrities
to invest in the region. In other words, they call in Emerald Village
for a reason
Elsewhere, dispensaries and cannabis brands advertise on billboards, and there are storefront dispensaries throughout Los Angeles; most identify themselves with a green cross. You can also get your weed delivered. Most dispensaries have partnered with one of a myriad of delivery services available.
The ban on public use extends to your car. And the LAPD takes buzzed driving seriously. If you’re pulled over and have any cannabis product in the car — even an unsmoked joint or a loose edible — you can be heavily fined. (Best to keep it in the trunk.)
Even with its public use ban, Los Angeles is one of the U.S. cities that most closely adheres to the HiBnb motto: All the highs, none of the hassles.
HiBnb Accommodations in L.A.
Downtown L.A. Apartment with Rooftop Pool
Check out this spacious downtown L.A. apartment
with a skyline view and a rooftop pool. the place fits three guests and comes with a private room and one bathroom. It's a comfortable little hideaway that isn't too far away from any of the sites you'll want to see. Smoking is fine anywhere in the house, though cigarettes should be smoked only in the patio area. Between the apartment, the outdoor balcony, porch, and pool, there's plenty of room to relax and vibe out. Price: $400/night.
Downtown L.A., Two Bedrooms, Two Baths, Hot Tub
Or consider this penthouse in the heart of downtown L.A. The apartment accommodates up to five guests and features two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Smoking is permitted anywhere on the property, even the outdoor balcony and porch. Amenities include wifi/internet, big screen TV, air conditioning, hot tub, full kitchen with dishwasher, laundry, and board games. Price: $125/guest
Where to Buy Cannabis in L.A.
314 N. La Brea Ave., Mid City
Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (310) 431-9873.
If Med Men is the Apple Store of dispensaries, the Wonderbrett flagship store in Mid City is its creative, non-corporate cousin. It has blond wood, natural light, and glass vitrines that have become practically "de rigueur" for upscale dispensaries. But the products (and there’s a lot to choose from) are presented as if they are "objets d’arte," and the electronic music is a little hipper and more aggro. If you didn't know it was a dispensary, you could easily mistake it for one of the high-end decor shops that dot the neighborhood. In fact, Wonderbrett's brightly colored boxes and jars wouldn’t look out of place in a jewelry store. Started by respected cultivator Brett Feldman, Wonderbrett is known for its carefully grown, high-potency flower, including its signature strain, Pink Picasso. The selection could be overwhelming — including some exclusive strains and collaborations — but the low-key and attentive staff is happy to guide you through your search.
8360 Melrose Ave., #101 West Hollywood
Open 9 a.m.- 10 p.m. daily (323) 433-4743
In the middle of a fashionable stretch of Melrose Avenue, Cookies — the brand of Taylor Gang rapper Berner — is a bit of an anomaly. It’s definitely street. The room looks unfinished; the bare-bones gray concrete and lack of decoration are a throwback to the earlier, slightly shady era of weed. You get the feeling that if there’s an unexpected knock on the door, the staff will either pull a "Scarface" or disappear out the back door. What brings the joint back to the 21st century are the prices, the selection (100 strains of flower), and the loud hip-hop that echoes through the place. While not to everyone’s taste, there’s something refreshing about Cookies’ no-nonsense character.
The Artist Tree
8625 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
The Artist Tree was the first official consumption lounge in West Hollywood. While it was the only game in town for a while it certainly wasn't a slapdash enterprise. The centrally located three-story combination dispensary, cafe, and consumption lounge has a slightly more sophisticated vibe than other dispensaries. It's kinda like visiting the home of a well-off bohemian. The dispensary on the main floor could be an art gallery, considering how many paintings are hung throughout the warm, inviting space. The sales floor is organized by both price and genetics, There are counters for indica, sativa, and hybrid flowers and concentrates. Vape cartridges for both 510 thread batteries and pods line the walls, and a full range of well-designed gear is available. The second level is the consumption cafe, a book-lined space where you can either smoke whatever you bought downstairs or order from your waiter. Along the back wall is a long counter and stools, where you can place an order for a coffee, snack, or a quick hit. No matter where you sit, rental gear is available. Whether you prefer dabbers or water pipes or want to try a gravity bong, you can choose your own adventure. The third floor is an open space available for rent. It easily functions as a gallery or performance space and includes a cozy balcony.
1533 N Labrea Ave.,
Hollywood, CA 90028
The second official consumption lounge, The Woods, scheduled its opening for Friday the 13th, but that's hardly a bad omen for the activists who fought for and invested in its creation. These enterprising folks include actor Woody Harrelson, political commentator Bill Maher, and acclaimed interior designer and creative director Thomas Schoos. As Harrelson told the "L.A. Weekly
," "It’s kind of mind-blowing because, to be honest, I never thought that it would get to this stage. I never thought you’d even have it to where it was legal, much less that you could go get it out of the shop. So it’s pretty exciting. A lot of people did a lot of hard work to make it happen." They sure did. The Woods features craft cannabis and a lush consumption lounge that serves premium organic, sun-grown, California herb. And it showcases an environmentally elegant and Zen-focused design with beautiful hand-hewn
reclaimed wood fixtures from Montana. What could be classier than that?
Dr. Greenthumb’s LAX
LAX 5494 W Centinela Ave., Los Angeles
Open 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Given that almost every Cypress Hill song is about weed, it’s no surprise that B-Real was one of the first musicians to get into the cannabis business. His Dr. Greenthumb brand gets high marks from consumers and to date he has built a chain of six dispensaries. His recently opened LAX shop is the brand’s first on Los Angeles’ west side and shows off his unique aesthetic, which he describes as “Apple Store meets the street.” While B’s Dr. Greenthumb and Insane brands are given the greatest visibility, the menu also features some of California’s best flower, concentrates, edibles, and vapes, with choices for all budgets. There’s also plenty of gear and merch featuring the caricature of B that was used for the Dr. Greenthumb logo. And its location — just off the 405 and minutes from the airport — means he’s got you covered coming and going.
What to Do in L.A.
1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA
It might be the Happiest Place On Earth, but many cannabis users like to make it even happier. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Los Angeles stoner under 60 who hasn’t gone through Space Mountain spaced. It’s practically a rite-of-passage. If you’re a sativa fan, head for the hills — The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Splash Mountain, and Thunder Mountain are sure to enhance your buzz. Indica users might prefer slower-paced attractions, like the Haunted Mansion or the Mad Tea Party. (Some say that with strong enough edibles, even “It’s A Small World” can be mindbending.) And everyone wants to check out the new Star Wars Land, whatever their substance of choice.
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
photo by Anthony Giorgio
If you're too stoned to risk a drive to the Magic Kindom in Anaheim, but you still want a day at a theme park, Universal City is a good choice. It’s just over the hill from Hollywood, and features more or less the same ya-yas as Disneyland, only with different intellectual property. You can visit Springfield at “The Simpsons”-themed area (where you can satisfy your munchies at the Kwik-E-Mart), explore Jurassic World, and even play Quiddich at Hogwarts. Or you can take the Studio Tour and get all up-close-and-personal with King Kong.
Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
You’re in Los Angeles so you may want to hit the beach. There are great beaches in Los Angeles, from Redondo Beach and Venice to Las Tunas and Malibu, but the Santa Monica Pier, at the westernmost end of Route 66, is probably the best known. There’s a small amusement park, a fishing dock, a classic old merry-go-round, an aquarium, and even a spot that offers trapeze lessons. During the summer, visitors can enjoy free concerts, and street performers entertain tourists all year round.
Nostalgia Bar and Lounge
1326 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
A new American eatery and CBD bar conceived by Chris Sayegh and The Herbal Chef Team strives to evokes fond memories of '80s Americana through familiar decor and a whimsically sophisticated menu. Cozy up on the light, leather sofas and decide among the surplus of old school board games to play, including Operation, Sorry, Jenga, and Battleship. Guest can sip inventive CBD- and terpene-infused cocktails that draw inspiration from nostalgic delights like Otter-Pops, Orange Julius, and Capri Suns. The staff includes the THC-oriented team of Chef and Partner Jared Ventura, Services Director Jack Goldberg, and Beverage Director Bradley, which suggests the menu food will likely soon be a highlight of the evening
Pinks Hot Dogs
709 N. Labrea Ave., Mid-City
Open Sunday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
It might not be the best hot dog in town, but judging by the lines outside the 83-year-old stand, it’s easily the most popular. The family-owned restaurant offers over 30 variations on the frankfurter, from a simple chili dog to the Martha Stewart dog (topped with relish, onions, three strips of bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, sour cream). Just don't ask for a Cheech & Chong dog. There are plenty of other places to go for cannabis. And Pinks is so high-profile, there's more than a slim chance you'll see a genuine L.A. celebrity chowing down. Even if you don't, the walls are covered with signed headshots of both the great and unknown, all pledging to their love of Pinks, and providing a sometimes-welcome distraction while you wait for your order.
Where to Enjoy Music in L.A.
1234 West 7th Street, Westlake/Downtown
On any given night, there’s enough live music happening in Los Angeles to satisfy even the biggest music snob. The Teragram Ballroom has been open for only seven years, but it has become one of the hottest clubs in town. The Teragram hosts both up-and-coming bands and established acts in an intimate room (500 capacity) that has wonderful sightlines, great sound, and a bar/restaurant with a respectable selection of draft beers. Recent bookings have included Ezra Furman, Son Volt, Sleaford Mods, and A Place To Bury Strangers.
2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood
photo by Royal Safira
In the warmer months (June through October), a concert at the Hollywood Bowl is one of the best ways to spend an evening in Los Angeles. The beautiful amphitheater (capacity 17,500) — celebrating its 100 birthday this year — is the summer home of the L.A. Philharmonic, but also books jazz, pop, and rock acts. Box seats can be expensive, but if you don’t mind sitting up top, reasonably-priced tickets can be found. Plus, you can bring your own food and drinks, which may keep you from buying those $25 burgers at the concessions stand. Parking at the venue can be tough, but park and ride shuttles are available.
6200 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If not the greatest record store on earth, Amoeba Music’s Hollywood store is easily in the top five. While the new Hollywood Boulevard store is not as expansive as the original, pre-pandemic Sunset Boulevard location, it’s still possible to get lost among the aisles of new and used CDs, records, posters, rarities, and clothes and come across that obscure blues album you’ve been looking for. Plus, with COVID restrictions loosened, they’ve brought back their program of in-store performances. Past free concerts have included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar and Paul McCartney.
Museums Even a Stoner Could Love
Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd., Culver City
Part cabinet of curiosities, part crack-pot history, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is a trip, whether you’re smoked out or not. According to their website, the museum is “a specialized repository of relics and artifacts from the Lower Jurassic, with an emphasis on those that demonstrate unusual or curious technological qualities.” Don't believe everything you read and good luck trying to figure out what connection anything in the place has to the "Lower Jurassic," or even if what you’re seeing is real. Among the permanent exhibits at this impossible-to-classify collection are “The Lives of Perfect Creatures: The Dogs of the Soviet Space Program,” Tell the Bees … Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition,” and “Micromosaics of Harald Henry Dalton.” To ensure the safety of visitors and staff during COVID, the Museum of Jurassic Technology now requires visitors to book appointments in advance through its online ticketing system (that part's real).
The Academy Museum
6068 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-City
Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday and Sat from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m
photo by Downtowngal
One thing that confounds LA visitors is that Hollywood, the neighborhood, bears little resemblance to Hollywood, the glamorous movie capital. But there’s plenty of glamor and glitz at the recently opened Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum (the folks who give out the Oscars) Museum. “Stories of Cinema,” is the museum’s centerpiece, a three-floor exhibit that chronicles the history of movies, from the early 20th Century, when the studios moved west to evade Edison’s patent on the movie camera, to the present day. There are also temporary exhibits dedicated to a specific filmmaker: Spike Lee, Billy Wilder, and Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki have been featured. The Ted Mann auditorium is one of the best rooms to see a movie in Los Angeles, and the programming covers the gamut from Oscar-winning crowd-pleasers to obscure indie flicks. And if you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to accept an Oscar, “The Oscars Experience” simulates the experience.