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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Will West Hollywood be the next Amsterdam for cannabis lounges?

City grants 40 licenses, including some to well-known real estate players.
December 20, 2018 05:00PM

(Credit: iStock)

Move over Amsterdam: West Hollywood is vying to be next global destination for cannabis consumption.

The city revealed a list this week of the top-scoring applicants for licenses to operate eateries, lounges and cafes where people can smoke and consume weed-infused products, WeHoVille reported.

The move could further expand the growing cannabis-related commercial real estate market.

The city granted eight licenses in each of five categories, with some applicants receiving more than one license. The new establishments will be able to open for business as early as next year. The applicants must first secure a state license within 12 months and find physical locations for their businesses.

The companies that qualified for licenses included some well-known real estate players. Jason Illoulian, who operates Faring, a progressive development company, is also the co-owner of Calma, which qualified for a recreational and delivery license. Faring won approval in June to incorporate a historic gay nightclub into a nine-story hotel in West Hollywood.

The move by West Hollywood to bless the new establishments, coming just two years after California legalized cannabis, could transform the city into one of the pot-lounge capitals of the world. There are currently only nine consumption lounges in the country, according to Curbed: seven in San Francisco, one in Oakland, and one in Denver. The new cannabis businesses could put West Hollywood on par with Amsterdam, Netherlands, for cannabis tourism.

Also qualifying was business owner Soheil Yamini’s Greenwolf, of which he is a co-owner. The “all-inclusive mecca” for cannabis consumption will be located at 8535-8537 Sunset Blvd. It qualified for four licenses, including a delivery license. Yamini is the owner of Pink Dot, a nearby late night market on Sunset.

Brian Robinson’s PleasureMed also won four licenses to operate a cannabis business at 7715 Santa Monica Blvd., adjacent to Pleasure Chest, an adult entertainment retailer he owns.

The Artist Tree, owned by Avi Kahan and Mitchell Kahan, was the only applicant to qualify for licenses in all five categories, which include recreational sales, medical sales, cannabis delivery, operation of a cannabis lounge offering edible products, and operation of a lounge where cannabis smoking and vaping is permitted and edible products can be consumed. The brothers already control two other dispensaries in Los Angeles and North Hollywood. [WeHoVille] — Alexei Barrionuevo