You can't talk about weed culture without talking about Cypress Hill. It just wouldn't be right. From songs like “Hits from the Bong” and “I Wanna Get High” to legendary moments like lighting up a joint on Saturday Night Live — and being banned forever — they've been here, advocating for legalization and free use of the plant since the jump.
So when I had the chance to talk to B-Real, one-fourth of the hip hop collective, in celebration of his appearance on BET's Smoke: Marijuana + Black America documentary, it was an immediate “yes.”
“[BET] just asked for my involvement, and I was like yeah for sure. Anytime you get a chance to speak on behalf of the culture, in terms of cannabis, I'm always willing.”
B-Real has a very cool demeanor. He's calm, collected, and ready for all the curveball questions, just like you'd expect from someone who's been talking about legalization and the cannabis business for years now. When asked what cannabis culture means to him today, he told me, “Every part of it has a sub branch from the original shit. There's the cultivator culture, there's the brand culture. Cannabis and music always went together. People smoking, at any degree, most times, are rocking that shit with music. We were able to talk about cannabis in our music, so that's a part of the cannabis culture.”
Navigating legalization and how to keep the culture alive
Cypress Hill has been championing cannabis for over 30 years now. Since before Washington and Colorado even considered the thought of legal weed. “Back when we started, legalization was the big thing. To get to a point where people would be open to the thought of legalization — who knew what it would turn into?”
What it's turned into is the majority of the United States having some form of legalized cannabis, and generating billions of dollars in tax revenue from it.
“It's great that we're there in terms of acceptance, and the fact that we are the template with how it would operate. We're the template to show that it either works or it doesn't, and soon enough, most of the states will become recreational. Those old ways of thinking are breaking down,” said the LA native. “It's just taking time because you have very conservative places that still, despite the information of how it would stimulate their economic flow, it's always a hard sell on them.”
Federal legalization, whenever it happens, is inevitable. With it, we can only hope that everyone gets to eat — not just the big corporations that will flood the market. When asked about his thoughts on the future of legalization, and the big-bank-take-little-bank business practices that are sure to exploit it, B-Real says that's the big worry.
“You've got to survive this tidal wave of shit, but I think it's on your brand building. If you build something of quality and consistency that the consumers trust and know that it's the shit, they will stand with you. Others, they might not be fortunate enough. You might have to white label and say fuck a brand, I'm just going to be a producer. But yeah, a lot of those operators are going to go away. They'll probably sell their license to investment groups that are trying to get into cannabis.”
Luckily for B-Real, he owns one of those companies that consumers stand behind. “Dr. Greenthumb” isn't just one of Cypress Hill's biggest songs, it's also the name of B-Real's chain of dispensaries, and web-series/podcast channel. The dispensary is known for their flagship strains: Insane OG, Insane Christmas Lights, Hindu Funk, and when it's available, Ice Cream Cake.
For now, Dr. Greenthumb has six locations spread throughout Southern California. The plan for the future is expansion into other states, and eventually other countries. “We want to plant flags in the United States and then eventually go over to Spain and plant a flag there. Because Cypress Hill has a fanbase there that is very supportive. So if we were to open a retail spot and take our genetics down there, it would go a long way. Our fans expect that experience, so it's just a matter of time.”
Since B-Real is such a figure in the cannabis world, we couldn't hop off the Zoom without also discussing his weed ritual, habits, and favorite products. Here are some of the products the hip-hop legend and cannabis entrepreneur B-Real can't live without.
Cypress Hill Phuncky Feel Tips
Cypress Hill's Phuncky Feel Tips are B-Real's brand of glass joint tips that produce a Cypress Hill series. “I cannot smoke a joint without those glass tips. It's not the same for me. Once you smoke on a glass tip, smoking anything else just doesn't seem right. That's my number one shit right there.”
B-Real's a flower man. He used to be heavy on the dabs, but he prefers to smoke joints over everything. When asked how much weed he smokes per day, he responded, “We've tried to count and we lose count. We smoke before we're on the podcast, which is a two hour show, so we're smoking 4 joints each for those 2 hours. And then there's the 5 or 6 before the show, and the other 10 after the show. We're smoking all day over here, it's crazy.”
Dr. Greenthumb's Insane Christmas Lights and Super Chief by RedLine Genetics are the strains he's been smoking.
With his abundance of good flower, B-Real can't live without a good grinder.
Vibes is Berner's rolling papers brand, and B-Real's preferred roll-up.
Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps