Illustration by Jim Cooke
(Jim Cooke / Los Angeles Times)

11 chill weed dispensaries in L.A. built on social justice and community vibes

The first of L.A.’s social equity dispensaries — legal weed shops whose majority owners were unduly affected by the war on drugs — started opening around the city a year ago this month. According to L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation, the number of social equity retail licenses issued currently stands at 105 — just over a third of all the bricks-and-mortar places in the city to (legally) buy your buzz.

Not all of them have opened their doors yet, and there’s no guarantee all of them will. Plus, they don’t necessarily advertise their social equity status, so it isn’t that easy to know which pot place to patronize if you want to strike a blow for social justice en route to blowing your mind.

Opening a cannabis dispensary with a social equity license in Los Angeles takes endurance. Here are resilient owners who fought hard to run pot shops.

April 14, 2022

To that end, we’ve embarked on a quest to visit — and catalog — all the social equity dispensaries across Los Angeles. The list below represents the beginning of that expedition and includes one of the very earliest to open (the Artist Tree in Koreatown) and one of the most recent (Pirate Town Cannabis Company in San Pedro). If there’s a dispensary we should consider adding next time we update this list, let us know by sending an email to

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A colorful, geometric mural covers the front of a dispensary on Western Avenue.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The Artist Tree Koreatown

Koreatown Dispensary
Even on a bustling stretch of Western Avenue, it’d be hard to overlook the Koreatown outpost of this art gallery-meets-pot shop concept, thanks to artist Matty Mo’s eye-catching geometric mural that covers the entire façade. Inside, what appears to be a postage stamp-size shop is actually just the cash wrap with a couple of touchscreens for online ordering (and a security guard who may have a dog biscuit to treat your four-legged friend). Upstairs is a much larger, loft-like space with equal amounts of mind-bending art on the walls and mind-altering substances on the shelves. In addition to a wide range of flower (budtenders say CBX’s Cereal Milk is popular), edibles and vape cartridges, there’s a shelf full of live plants (from Clone Guy Industries) ready to put down roots in the forever home of aspiring green thumbs.
Opened: April 16, 2021
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The interior of a dispensary with two people at the counter
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Erb & Arbor

Panorama City Dispensary
Deep in the San Fernando Valley, across the street from the L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center and just around the corner from the Valley Indoor Swap Meet, is this 3,000-square-foot space flooded with natural light and appointed with faux ferns. More artificial greenery — and a neon sign — festoon a social media wall in one corner, complete with a neon trellis. In addition to house brands (Erb & Arbor and Mariment flower), this shop stocks a deep bench of concentrates and vape cartridges and a wide selection of high-end products (and chic smoking accessories) by luxe L.A.-based brand Mae. You can order for pickup (it has a dedicated parking lot) or, if you’re too high to stop by, they’re launching delivery service soon.
Opened: Dec. 10, 2021
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An interior view of a dispensary showing product on the shelves and in glass cases
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The Green Paradise

Mid-Wilshire Dispensary
Located on a high-traffic stretch of La Brea Avenue in Mid-Wilshire, the 1,600-square-foot retail space is tricked out in shades of black and green with an arch of festive balloons framing the doorway. The paradise theme is hammered home with some serious palm-tree-emblazoned merch (some of it on mannequins) such as knit caps, trucker-style hats and hooded sweatshirts. Offering a tightly edited collection focusing on high-end, indoor-grown flower, the shelves and glass cases are stacked with brands such as Wonderbrett, Monogram (Jay-Z’s label) and the Cure Company, whose Marathon OG strain — a collaboration with the late Nipsey Hussle — sells particularly well here according to co-owner Evelyn Scott-Brinson. She and co-owners Brandon Brinson and Rayford Brown have made it a priority to showcase social equity cultivators, so you’ll also find offerings from Ball Family Farms, Shepherds Row and Oakland-based Peakz. (Pro tip: There’s a spacious parking lot in the back, just off Edgewood Place.)
Opened: Jan. 1, 2022
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A dispensary exterior with a large cannabis billboard on the roof
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Gorilla Rx Wellness

Leimert Park Dispensary
The godmother of L.A.’s social equity movement, Kika Keith, opened her Crenshaw shop roughly six blocks from where she grew up, which makes the neon “crafted on Crenshaw” sign hanging above a cooler full of product in her dispensary as much about her as the store itself. The design inspiration, she says, was part adult candy store and part grandmother’s house. (“My grandmother kept a Christmas tree up probably seven months of the year, and it always kind of felt like Christmas,” she explains.) The result is a joyous cacophony of color from the walls to the metal shelving accents and signage. While there’s a robust offering of nonconsumables (think glittery Krucial Needs ashtrays and coffee mugs emblazoned with “I rap to my plants”), the focal point — literally, as well as philosophically, thanks to the display case directly in front of the entrance — are BIPOC- and women-owned brands including Biko (flower), Potli (infused shrimp chips), Kikoko (tea) and packets of THC-infused barbecue from a brand called Get Saucey. Other brands in the mix include Houseplant, Cheech’s Stash, Korova and Luchador.
Opened: Aug. 25, 2021
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The colorful interior of a Boyle Heights dispensary with tile-print counters
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)


Boyle Heights Dispensary
This Boyle Heights dispensary leans hard into the neighborhood vibe, from the Calavera Catrina mural and skull-and-roses details outside to the marigold-colored walls, Mexican-tile-print counters and colorful sugar-skull planters inside. But it’s not just paying lip service to the surrounding Latino community with paint and pottery. There’s also a cooler filled with THC-infused takes on traditional aguas frescas (including pineapple, mango and a too-tasty-for-its-own-good watermelon) from L.A. brand Agua de Flor, horchata- or margarita-flavored artisanal gummies (from Dulze) and La Familia cannabis-infused chocolates served up in flavors that include cajeta (caramel), fresas con crema (strawberries and cream) and Mexican hot chocolate. The shop also offers a fun way for customers to support the community: Each purchase comes with a tiddlywink-like plastic disc to drop in one of three glass jars near the door, each labeled with the name of a neighborhood organization (think food pantries, music programs and Boys & Girls clubs). The group that gets the most tiddlywinks at the end of three months receives a $500 donation — and the other two get $250 each.
Opened: Oct. 21, 2021
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The speakeasy-themed interior of a dispensary with two people shopping
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Josephine & Billie's

Exposition Park Dispensary
Enter what looks like a tiny smoke shop in an Exposition Park mini-mall, step up to the counter and whisper the phrase “Billie sent me,” and you’ll be transported (we won’t spoil how) into a 1,500-square-foot, speakeasy-themed dispensary by and for women of color, complete with chandeliers, flocked wallpaper and a bathroom that boasts an ostrich-feather selfie wall. Most of the offerings are organized by effect; small, colorful signs around the room read focus, energize, uplift, relieve and relax. But there’s one display case merchandised solely with BIPOC- and women-owned brands including Sundae School, Kush Queen, Biko, SF Roots, Tical and Ball Family Farms. The last of those has collaborated with the duo running the show (founder and Chief Executive Whitney Beatty and Chief Operating Officer Ebony Andersen) to create two exclusive strains that pay homage to the dispensary namesakes. Billie (after Billie Holiday) aims for a relaxing effect, and Josephine (after Josephine Baker) is described as uplifting.
Opened: Oct. 29, 2021
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The interior of a San Pedro dispensary with a pirate-themed logo displayed on the floor
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Pirate Town Cannabis Company

San Pedro Dispensary
This tiny mini-mall shop, sandwiched between a sneaker shop and a fast-food Chinese restaurant, is conveniently located three blocks beyond the southern end of the 110 Freeway. Even if you’re not in the neighborhood, it’s worth charting a course here to experience the perfect blend of stoner-meets-pirate kitsch that starts with the logo (pot pipe atop cannabis leaf atop ship’s wheel) and ends with jars of private-label flower with pirate-themed strain names, including Kaptain Kush, Kraken 41 and Eye Patch OG (we’re guessing it only makes one eye red). Owner Cynthia Hurtado, her general manager son Pablo Villalobos and a pirate’s crew of 13 keep the glass cases stocked with a range of combustibles and consumables, including a solid selection of social equity brands such as Shepherds Row and Itty Bitty. Let the pirate flag fly.
Opened: April 4, 2022
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A man walks by Kobe Bryant's mural in front of the Puff L.A. dispensary in Boyle Heights
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Puff Los Angeles

Boyle Heights Dispensary
You might overlook this taco-stand-sized spot altogether but for two things: First, it’s right next to the southbound onramp to the 5 Freeway in Boyle Heights, which makes it one of the most accessible dispensaries in our car-loving city. (And yes, there’s dedicated parking.) Second, a mural of Kobe Bryant covers the entire side of the building facing Cesar Chavez Avenue. Inside the 700-square-foot jewel box is a mixture of blond wood and faux greenery (including a lush-looking social media wall that declares — in full neon — “I was gonna _____ ,but then I got high”), and a couple of glass display cases stocked with a highly curated selection of flower, vape cartridges, tinctures and topicals. There’s no need to list any brands here because what you should really do is tell the budtender — one of the most attentive and knowledgeable we’ve encountered — what kind of high you’re looking for and “puff,” just like that, she’ll serve up just the right thing.
Opened: Dec. 21, 2021
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A table framed with plants and filled with cannabis products at the Sixty Four & Hope dispensary
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles)

Sixty Four & Hope Mid-City

Mid-City Dispensary
Two blocks off the 10 Freeway on busy La Cienega Boulevard, the first of the Sixty Four & Hope dispensary chain (backer 4thMVMT is partnering with a different social equity applicant for each location) might be mistaken from the outside for a fancy furniture store or luxury retail boutique. Inside, the uncluttered decor — swirly marble-patterned floors, wide display tables and abundant potted (noncannabis) plants — allows the product mix to take center stage. Products that caught our eye on a recent visit included L.A.-based Pure Beauty prerolls, Kush Cups THC-infused coffee pods, Plus gummies and a table full of Flow Kana flower. (Pro tip: There’s a parking lot behind the building, off Guthrie.) There’s also a sister Sixty Four & Hope located at 6803 Melrose Ave. (at Highland).
Opened: Sept. 18, 2021
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The exterior of the Trees of Echo Park dispensary with aq string of lights across the front
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Trees of Echo Park

Echo Park Dispensary
What’s not to like about a dispensary next door to a pizza joint? Slasher Pizza occupies the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Scott Avenue in Echo Park and this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it (we did — twice) weed shop is right next door. In fact, if you squint a little (or smoke enough), stepping inside will almost feel like climbing into a weed-filled pizza box, thanks to the store’s super-small footprint, cardboard-colored fixtures and pegboard walls. Brands in stock during a recent visit included prerolls from Space Coyote and Palms (including the Justin Bieber limited-edition Peaches collaboration), Wyld gummies, PodTones single-use pure rosin vaporizers and a cooler full of THC-infused beverages including Keef and Cann.
Opened: May 12, 2021
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The exterior of the Wonderbrett dispensary on La Brea Ave.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles)


Hancock Park Dispensary
Given the Hancock Park location, would you expect anything less than a bazaar-meets-NFT-art-studio vibe? The interior (which co-owner David Judaken says takes inspiration from his own home) includes high ceilings, exposed rustic wooden beams, Persian rugs and hand-hammered copper pendant lights. The old-meets-new contrast is underscored by massive synchronized LED screens that loop animated versions of the melting-fruit graphics that adorn the packaging of Brett Feldman’s namesake brand. In addition to the full range of Wonderbrett flower (Feldman says their Pink Picasso strain is a top seller), prerolls, edibles and vape cartridges, the store stocks a host of other brands including Kiva Confections, Ball Family Farms, Papa & Barkley and Kush Queen.
Opened: July 10, 2021
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