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Four Hours: The Museum of Weed and prowling Larchmont Village

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed, a 30,000-square-foot deep dive into the world of cannabis, has sprouted temporarily (through Sept. 29) on the very southern edge of Hollywood, not far from Larchmont Boulevard, one of the city’s most lively — and walkable — shopping districts. While fans of “the devil’s lettuce” could easily burn through a full four hours at the museum alone — which includes an on-site cafe and well-stocked museum gift shop — most visitors should plan to spend about half that amount of time touring the exhibitions and the other half on the two-block stretch of Larchmont between Beverly Boulevard and 1st Street.

11 a.m. There are a few very important things to know in advance of a visit to the Museum of Weed at 720 N. Cahuenga Boulevard (just north of Melrose Avenue): first is that it’s only for the 18+ crowd; second is that timed-entrance tickets must be purchased online in advance (general admission is $35); third is that it’s cashless from start to finish; and finally, no, you can’t consume cannabis on site.

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Got the munchies? Here are some of the featured bowls inside the Museum of Weed.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

If you’re driving, either try to score a metered parking spot or make use of the museum’s valet parking ($10 for the first 90 minutes, a maximum of $20 for the day). If you arrive early for your scheduled time, enjoy a snack from Crateful Cafe’s “munchie chic” menu that includes the Fat Bowl (brown rice congee with pickled mustard greens, roasted yams, kimchi, scallions and poached egg) and the Elvis-inspired Houndawg sandwich (bacon, black sesame butter and banana mustard on a pretzel bao bun), or peruse the gift shop where you can snap up rolling trays and hats emblazoned with the museum logo, as well as Jonathan Adler ganja jars and Devil’s Harvest T-shirts.

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Educating the canna-curious: The Museum of Weed.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The museum itself is organized into seven Instagram-worthy themed chronological exhibits starting with the pre-prohibition era and ending with legalization, with a science-focused “plant lab” at the end.

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Tripping through a history of cannabis at the Museum of Weed.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Many of the early displays seem aimed at educating the baby-stepping canna-curious (that George Washington operated a hemp farm, for example, or that U.S. naval ships of the 1770s had hemp-derived ropes and sails), but there’s enough packed into the overall museum experience that, by the end, even the most ardent herbal enthusiast will walk away with a new nugget of information. (Such as the fact that the human body produces a THC “twin” called anandamide.)

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One of the more eye-catching exhibits at the Museum of Weed.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The museum is at its best, though, where it highlights the people — not just the heroes and the villains but the casualties too — in this country’s long, tangled relationship with cannabis. These include Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam who discovered THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) in 1964, Harry J. Anslinger (the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics), Samuel R. Caldwell (an unemployed Colorado farmworker and first person arrested under the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act), and AIDS activist Dennis Peron, one of the founders of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club, the country’s first dispensary — which has been painstakingly re-created as part of the exhibition.

1 p.m. From the museum, drive south on North Cahuenga two blocks to Rosewood, then turn left and go an additional five blocks to North Larchmont Boulevard, and take a right. There are a few shops on this stretch — and parking options — but most of the action is south of the Beverly Boulevard intersection where you’ll find two city-run parking lots (at 218 and 209 N. Larchmont) as well as metered street parking. Plan on leaving your car parked for at least two hours while you walk the loop — first south on the west side of Larchmont, then crossing over at 1st Street and walking north on the east side of the street.

1:10 Although your itinerary is certain to vary based on shopping skill — and hunger level — your first order of business should be to grab lunch at Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese, at 223 N. Larchmont Blvd., where the deli crew makes gourmet sandwiches to order in the back from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday — unless they run out of bread (which they’ve been known to do) that are served up with tiny tubs of cornichons and cured black olives. (We have a soft spot for the No. 4: roast turkey breast, Swiss, Gruyère and mixed greens on Italian ciabatta bread.) If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to snag a seat at one of the outdoor tables and watch the world go by.

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Wines at Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

If you’re looking for a unique wine for a special occasion — or simply want to impress the hosts of the next dinner party you attend — make a mental note to swing back here at the end of your outing and the super-knowledgeable staff will help you get the best bang for your bottle.

Unfortunately, they’re closed on Sundays. But Sunday visitors can enjoy the Larchmont Village Farmers Market which sets up shop on this block from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

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You'll want a pair of everything at Blends.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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2 p.m. Standout stores on this side of the street include Blends (141 N. Larchmont), a minimalist, postage-stamp-sized space that’s home to a curated collection of covet-worthy sneakers heavy on the Adidas and Vans’ premium Vault collection and Buck Mason (107 N. Larchmont) a clubby space filled with overstuffed couches and racks and tables filled with the L.A. brand’s modern take on American menswear classics including waffle-weave long-sleeve tees, workwear-inspired chambray shirts and slim-cut raw selvage denim jeans.

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Noelle Park, 8, reads at Chevalier's Books.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Just beyond Buck Mason, cross over to the opposite side of the street and head north, keeping your eyes peeled for the following joys to browse: Chevalier’s Books (126 N. Larchmont), which dates to 1940 and lays claim to being the oldest independent bookstore in Los Angeles, and Landis’ Labyrinth (140 N. Larchmont), a throwback to toy stores of old where you’ll find new playthings (Star Wars Lego sets, Ugly Dolls) sharing shelf space with classics (Mad Libs, building blocks and Gumby and his bendable, poseable posse).

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For the kid in you: Landis' Labyrinth.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

If you’re planning ahead for Sunday brunch, pop into Groundwork (150 N. Larchmont) for a bag of organic, locally roasted coffee beans (the dark, smoky Bitches Brew blend is a bestseller) and then Sam’s Bagels (154 N. Larchmont) for a dozen of their round-hole wonders and a tub of everything cream cheese.

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Something for everyone at the Larchmont Beauty Center.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

2:30 p.m. In addition to a deep bench of lotions, potions, spritzes and powders for women, Larchmont Beauty Center (208 N. Larchmont) also has a robust assortment of men’s grooming products showcased front and center, among them shaving creams from Pro Raso and Truefitt & Hill, post-shave balms from Art of Shaving and rum-scented bars of soap from Malin + Goetz.

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Women’s ready-to-wear on one side, menswear on the other.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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If you don’t have to rush back and feed your meter yet (you’ve been keeping track, right?), check out the focus-pulling prints and eye-catching colors of the co-branded Trina Turk / Mr Turk store (212 N. Larchmont) which showcases the hometown labels’ latest women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and swim collections one side and menswear on the other. From here, make a brief stop at the Above the Fold newsstand (226 N. Larchmont — right in front of the Rite Aid) to stock up on your weekend reading.

Salt & Straw
Prepare to be amazed by the flavors.
(Salt & Straw)

3 p.m. However long you spend on the street, your last stop should be the Salt & Straw ice cream shop at 240 N. Larchmont. This location was the first the artisanal brand opened outside of Portland, Ore., so pick up a cone — or better yet a hand-packed pint — of jaw-dropping combinations such as coffee and bourbon, or their Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, before heading back to your car.


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