Cypress Hill frontman B-Real has another job - running his cannabis enterprise Dr. Greenthumb, which has six stores in California and a seventh opening soon in San Diego. During the pandemic, it's kept him busy.
"It’s tough juggling being an artist and having to deal with all of that," he tells CelebStoner. "Fortunately, I have a great staff that’s dealing with that particular aspect of it."
Expanding Dr. Greenthumb to other legal cannabis states is the goal.
"To operate out of state you have to have the right team to do due diligence, and the necessary paperwork to acquire the licenses and be operating in compliance," B-Real explains. "But also, you need the brand that stands out, because there are competitors everywhere. If you’re going to open up in a place that’s not necessarily your backyard, you better have a big enough brand to compete with the folks that people already know."
A recent effort to move into the Oklahoma market was scuttled. "We are getting ready for that out-of-state expansion," he says. "By next year we should be out of California."
"It’s good that finally we’re seeing the progress that we thought we could see, especially in New York."
With legalization passing in New York, he has an eye on the Empire State.
"New York helped break our band," B-Real notes. "We’ve been fortunate to be blessed with fans there that have been with us since Day One, from the music to the cannabis advocacy. We used to throw events with High Times in New York at Wetlands. Those were some of the most incredible shows. From that we were able to carry on a tradition of throwing an annual show there every Halloween to give our thanks to the roots of how we started. We’re a West Coast band that started on the East Coast. For that we were always thankful.
"I know our New York fan base is very aware of Dr. Greenthumb. So I know if I brought that over to New York, they would want to experience that culture and those California flavors. It would be a great thing for us as a company to plant our flag in the city that pretty much made us."
Cypress Hill are celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2021. The group's self-titled debut album came out in August 1991. A documentary by Esteven Oriol and a graphic novel, as well as a new album, are all in the works.
The band played a 4/20 show at The Roxy in Los Angeles, but have no other concerts on their schedule.
"The last couple that we played were the drive-in shows," B-Real comments. "It was different, but a show’s a show. People enjoyed themselves. We enjoyed ourselves. We felt like it kept us going, kept us sharp. We considered other shows, but things got worse and they shut those down for a time. Slowly but surely we’re going to get back into getting out there as everything starts to open up. We’re trying to work on something for August but it’s still tentative. It’s based on what cities and states open up for shows."
Overall, for B-Real, the pandemic has forced him to slow down and concentrate on "what's important," he says, "In some ways it gave people perspective. Yeah, some people went crazy because they can’t stand still and be at peace for a while. Some people it gives more focus to. You had to have spent your time doing something that's going to make you better at what you do, if you didn’t fuck off your time.
"Who knows what normal is anymore?" he continues. "Hopefully, they get some sort of normality happening. People are going to be a little more careful. In some places, not at all. Some places they don’t give a shit. They're just doing what they do and don’t care about anyone else. That’s unfortunate. These are the things we’re dealing with. I think people are going to care about what they do a little bit more. Some will be more aware of the things they get involved with, how they interact with other people, especially if they’re sick or someone else is sick. It’s going to be a whole different manner of get-down. And some are going to try to keep it the same as it always was."
B-Real's Phuncky Feel Tips
• On Xzibit's Naplam cannabis brand: "He’s rebranding. He’s definitely redoing the name, but I’m not exactly sure how that’s working. They came at him to change it because they felt [napalm] represented something that killed a lot of Asian people in Vietnam obviously and it has that connotation. He didn’t want to be tone deaf about it so he decided he would change the name and rebrand it."
• On Seth Rogen's L.A. launch of his Houseplant brand: "I guess it was cool. It didn’t come to our shops. He’s definitely got a fan base and he’s definitely got a push. I really haven’t had an experience with any of his stuff yet, but when I do I’ll definitely let you know."
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• On more states legalizing adult-use cannabis: "It’s great. But I think a lot of these folks are going to go through the same learning curve that we have in California and in Colorado. It all depends on how that state runs that part of the industry. The taxation we’ve got to go with in California is ridiculous. Hopefully, they don’t have that same problem in the new states like New York. It’s good that finally we’re seeing the progress that we thought we could see, especially in New York."
More B-Real Links
• Partners with Sweetwater Brewing