A company co-founded by a little-known rapper has become one of the fastest growing cannabis businesses in the U.S. Berner started Cookies as a clothing outlet first in San Francisco. When legal marijuana sales began in California in 2017, Cookies was first on line to secure coveted licenses. From then till now, Cookies has expanded to mutiple states (and countries) with a current tally of 53 stores under various names (Cookies, Lemonnade, Berner's).
On July 16, Cookies opened its first shop in Missouri - a medical dispensary in St. Louis. Berner is making an appearance there on August 6. According to a press release: "The company opened its first retail store in 2018 in Los Angeles... Cookies was named one of America's Hottest Brands of 2021 by AdAge; it was the first cannabis brand to ever receive this accolade."
No other celebrity has had as much success in the cannabis industry so far as Berner.
More than half of the stores (28) are located in California. Cookies also operates domestically in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Oregon and internationally in Canada (Toronto) and Israel (Tel Aviv, Jerulsalem). Cookies also recently opened a CBD store in Vienna, Austria and have announced plans for a similar shop to Bangkok, Thailand.
“Bringing the Cookies brand and its products to Vienna is a core part of our global expansion strategy," Cookies president Parker Berling stated. "By partnering with a global partner like InterCure, we can share cannabis-based medicine and culture from California to Europe."
Born in San Francisco as Gilbert Milam Jr., Berner got his start as a rapper in 2006. He collaborated with Cypress Hill's B-Real on three Prohibition albums and was signed by Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Made label. By 2016, he had a hit album with Hempire. Working numerous angles, Berner developed his music career, opened his first Cookies clothing store and then jumped in when California went legal. No other celebrity has had this much success in the cannabis industry so far.
Berner may have many interests, but activism isn't one of them. "I don't really get involved in all that," he told SF Weekly in 2016. "I'm just here to make money."