It’s a well-established fact that rap and marijuana go hand in hand. They’re both popular, they both fuel important social movements, and they both help people relax.
It should be no surprise, then, that rising hip hop artist The Game bought a stake in a Southern California medical marijuana dispensary this summer. The Game, a protégé of Dr. Dre, disclosed in August that he invested in The Reserve, a Santa Ana pot shop.
The deal makes the rapper, actor, and reality TV star a part-owner of the dispensary, one of just 10 licensed to operate in Santa Ana. Orange County has long been hostile to marijuana collectives, making the announcement an important step forward for local patients.
Branded strains and concentrates
The Game said he also plans to add his name to several branded cannabis strains and hash oils, which he will initially sell at The Reserve before expanding to other shops by 2017.
“Our mission as a community is simple: safe and legal access to a plant that saves lives and changes futures,” the rapper said in a news release. “At the foundation of every emerging industry is good people willing to stand up, step out and pave the way for future generations to come. The Reserve is my platform for nationwide education and statewide access to consistent, locally grown, premium medicine.”
The Game is from Compton, a predominantly black city in southern Los Angeles County that became famous as the birthplace of Dr. Dre and N.W.A., as well as many other successful rappers. Compton is generally considered the home of gangsta rap.
Pushing for criminal justice reform
The Game speaks of medicinal pot as a matter of human rights. The issue, he says, is part of a larger push to reform the criminal justice system and end violence between police and the black community. In July the rapper marched with other artists, including Snoop Dogg, to the graduation ceremony at the Los Angeles Police Department as part of that campaign.
It’s no secret The Game loves bud. He’s a medical marijuana patient, and his lyrics frequently reference “reefer” and “ganja.” He has rapped at High Times Cannabis Cup events and is already a successful player in the legal cannabis industry.
The Game shares ownership of The Reserve with Darice Smolenski, who said the rapper’s public profile could help convince Californians to legalize marijuana in November. Voters will decide on Election Day whether they want to make the drug available to adults over 21 for any use.
“A lot has changed in the cannabis market,” Smolenski said, adding that she hopes her collaboration with the rapper encourages legalization and “solidifies our place in the market.”
Santa Ana only recently started licensing medical marijuana dispensaries. The retail stores were banned for years by local ordinance, as they still are in most of the rest of Orange County, but new shops could open soon, Santa Ana city officials said.
Let us know: Do you have a favorite rapper you wish would put his or her name on marijuana products? Leave a comment below.