California. Cannabis: West Hollywood dreams of “Amsterdam of the Far West”

Squeezed between Beverly Hills and the Hollywood neighborhood, the city of West Hollywood, in Los Angeles County, wants to become the new hot destination for marijuana lovers around the world.

During the Prohibition days, West Hollywood had speakeasies and speakeasies. In the 1960s, cutting-edge rock groups like The Doors and Led Zeppelin performed at Sunset Boulevard nightclubs. And when the AIDS epidemic broke out in the 1980s, it was here that the first medical cannabis dispensaries were opened.

Today, West Hollywood is aiming for another distinction: The city wants to become the Amsterdam of the Old West, fusing California’s recreational cannabis culture with its local, laid-back and creative vibe.

“Emerald town”

There are already six pharmacies in West Hollywood and around 40 other licenses should be granted by the end of 2022, as part of a project called “Emerald Village.” Behind this initiative are people who have already bet on the sector, who hope to transform the city into a must-see destination for marijuana lovers.

Several celebrities are among the investors, including rapper Jay-Z, actors Patricia Arquette and Woody Harrelson, and comedian Bill Maher.

“People who would not have thought of coming to West Hollywood will make the trip thanks to the patronage of the stars,” explains Scott Schmidt, director of the professional group behind the project.

The city will also stand out thanks to its disproportionate ambition: With 35,000 residents in less than 5 square kilometers, West Hollywood should have the highest concentration of cannabis stores per capita in the world, adds Scott Schmidt. It currently has a dispensary for 5,959 inhabitants. In the city of Los Angeles, there is one for 18,528 people.

Bars and stars

The Parent Co., a company funded primarily by Jay-Z, recently bought Calma, a local pharmacy. Patricia Arquette is investing in a soon-to-open cannabis lounge bar, while Woody Harrelson and Bill Maher are financing a pharmacy and lounge bar currently under construction.

But Hollywood stars aren’t the only ones to jump in. “They are very


Hugo Martin

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