Woody Harrelson was as soon as arrested for planting 4 hemp seeds, now he has his personal hashish store


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West Hollywood dispensary, backed by Harrelson and Bill Maher, opens its doors.

The new dispensary and lounge, backed by Harrelson, Bill Maher and others, “showcases an environmentally elegant yet Zen-focused design.” / Photo by Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Giffoni

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Trying to grow hemp three decades ago didn’t work out so well for hemp and weed enthusiast Woody Harrelson, but perhaps opening a pot shop in now legal California will help merge his life-long efforts around advocacy and appreciation.

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Things are far more different than they were back in 1996. That’s when the Academy Award-nominated actor was arrested for a symbolic protest to draw attention to the very real differences between cannabis and organic hemp.

Hemp has had quite a heyday, and it is hoped that the move to again allow for its widespread use could return it to its former glory.

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According to Far Out Magazine, though, Harrelson and a CNN camera crew showed up in Lee County, Kentucky to make a high-profile show of the issue. Upon planting four seeds, the actor and advocate was arrested, although he was later acquitted “famously after the jury deliberated for less than half an hour,” the publication reports.

There was far less controversy, but just as much of a show, when Harrelson and his partners recently opened a swanky pot shop in Hollywood.

The dispensary and lounge opened May 13 on Santa Monica Blvd. It “showcases an environmentally elegant yet Zen-focused design,” notes the company, which was founded by Harrelson, comedian Bill Maher of Real Time With Bill Maher, dispensary chain ERBA founders Devon Wheeler and Jay Handal, Schoos Design CEO Michael Berman and creative director Thomas Schoos.

As for the space, it has two distinct halves: a dispensary and a freestanding neighbourhood bar, reportedly located in a backyard garden. Spectrum News 1 reports the garden is gloriously overgrown with mature foliage, sculptures, a tree house, a koi pond and a studio inhabited by a pair of macaws.

Although separate, porthole windows act as a passageway between the two businesses, and mingling and exploring is encouraged.

“Woody had this concept for decades but never anticipated it would happen in our lifetime,” Wheeler notes in an announcement on the company website. “Our goal is essentially to return the legacy operators’ work to the forefront before it gets washed out by corporations. The Woods is all about getting back to basics with nature and cannabis.”

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Harrelson told the crowd assembled for the opening: “Hopefully, we’ve added more beauty and more good times here. Hopefully, we can make the West Hollywood Citizens a little bit higher.”

Citing Eater LA, West Hollywood (WeHo) could become the home of as many as 16 cannabis consumption lounges.

Los Angeles Magazine reported in December 2021 that a number of celebrities, including Maher and Jay-Z, were focused on helping to make WeHo an iconic weed zone in future. At the time, the idea was about 40 more pot shops could grace the area in future if approved cannabis permits became actual stores.

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Harrelson praised the WeHo for embracing cannabis lounges. “These guys are so broad-minded here in WeHo so they’ve allowed consumption,” he told The Hollywood Reporter before the store’s ribbon-cutting.

With both recreational and medicinal offerings, The Woods has flower, edibles, pre-rolls, extracts, tinctures, topicals, gear and seeds.

There are plenty of organic, sun-grown and California-cultivated options available. That said, Harrelson told L.A. Weekly, commenting on being honoured with the 2022 “Willie Nelson” Award, the Emerald Cup’s version of a lifetime achievement award: “My dream is to promote and to help people see the sensibility in sun-drenched herb, because I feel like you want that sun energy,” he said at the time.

Harrelson, 60, joins past winners that include Native American activist, economist and author Winona LaDuke, comedian and octogenarian stoner Tommy Chong, medical marijuana activist Valerie Corral and the ganja grandaddy of them all, singer, actor and American icon Willie Nelson.

With the War on Drugs pushing cultivators indoors, Harrelson told The Hollywood Reporter that the move “spawned the use of a great deal of fertilizers and artificial lights and so forth. And I just feel like we don’t need that anymore.”

The next step, Harrelson has said, could be to start his own cannabis brand, which, again, would focus on sun-grown weed.

When and if that does happen, Harrelson said he will also work on trying to reduce excessive plastic packaging used in commercial cannabis, per Spectrum News 1.

“I’m hoping that we evolve to where, eventually, hopefully, it’s all our own stuff, and it’s packaged with the most minimal impact on the environment,” he told the publication.

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