This article was originally posted on Benzinga.
Snoop Dogg isn’t the only rapper that’s made a foray into the cannabis industry. In fact, it seems to be a spreading trend that has caught on with other big names in hip-hop, including Wiz Khalifa, Cypress Hill’s B-Real, Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, The White Girl Mob’s Lil Debbie and Dizzy Wright.
Last year, The Game added himself to this list after becoming the first celebrity to own a marijuana dispensary. Unsurprisingly, this led him to develop branded strains of cannabis flowers and concentrates, which are now sold at his dispensary’s Santa Ana, California location.
History Behind The Reserve
Back in 2004, Game—born Jayceon Terrell Taylor—was handpicked by Dr. Dre to be a part of the hip-hop group G-Unit. He then moved on to become an extremely popular solo rapper.
More than a decade after being selected for G-Unit, Game became the one with a chance to handpick a prospect of his own. However, it wasn’t an M.C. that he chose, but a medical cannabis dispensary: The Reserve.
“When I met Game, he actually came in one day. He was doing a performance and was looking for a shop to do a signing or something like that,” said Darice Smolenski, the dispensary’s co-owner. “He was highly impressed with what he saw at our shop and decided he wanted to be a part of this [because] he was trying to get into this industry on a legitimate level.”
Javier Hasse: How and why did you decide to get into the medical cannabis industry?
The Game: I’ve been involved with this community for most of my life. I’m proud to be alive during a time where we have the opportunity to responsibly bring cannabis to the public.
It’s a dream come true for me, and I simply want to build with the right people and brands so I can be a part of shaping what this industry looks like. It’s exciting to know that my ideas, my words, my voice… make a difference in the industry. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me inspired to be pushing limits with the best in the biz.
JH: What makes Trees by Game, your cannabis brand, different from other medical-grade cannabis?
TG: That’s a little like asking what makes a Bentley different from a Honda. [They’re] both good cars, both get you to where you want to be. But, for some people, it’s about how you get there. That’s where Trees By Game sets the bar.
Our goal is to make the entire smoking experience more enjoyable by providing the finest and highest-grade flower in the industry: Trees By Game. Our products are part of the evolution of this industry, and it’s an honor to be a part of that growth.
If we’re talking what makes my weed better than others, people are going to have to see, feel, smell and smoke it.
JH: Is Trees by Game certified as clean weed? Besides health benefits, do you find a difference in taste, potency, kind of high… anything?
TG: One thing you should know about everything that Trees By Game is doing, and anything I put my name on, is that everything is being done the right way.
Our products are all made and grown by licensed and regulated manufactures using tried-and-true techniques gained from years of working with the plants. Our dispensary is one of the very few fully licensed and compliant shops in the entire state of California. Our flowers and concentrates are tested and re-tested before being put out for sale.
For my money, I don’t think the flower can be beat for taste and smoke.
We also invest tremendous amounts of time and energy into creating a clean, comfortable and effortless shopping experience for our patients at our retail location.
Darice Smolenski: When you come into The Reserve, what a lot of people immediately think is, “Wow, it’s like the Apple store with a spa environment.” It is a very professional, clean place where you get greeted by name and walked to the showroom floor, through our secured doors, with your consultant who follows you through, from the beginning of the transaction to its end.
JH: How has your experience in the industry been? Have you found any particular challenges, hurdles or stigmas?
TG: We’ve been on an incredible journey so far, and I only see this as the beginning. My favorite thing, hands down, are the people that I work with. The people who run and support the companies I work with are some of the most amazing and motivated people I’ve ever worked with… hands down.
Tapping Into The Reserve
JH: Why did you choose The Reserve to both make an investment and sell your product? What makes it different from other medical dispensaries?
TG: The Reserve is one of the most professional operations in the country, hands down. They are one of the few [dispensaries] in California [that are] fully licensed to operate, paying taxes, proud to follow the rules and honored to work with local cities to pave the way for other professionals in the community.
The Reserve sets the standard for quality medicine and patient care. We’ve gone the extra mile to really make sure everything about the user experience is done the “right way.”
In a time where most are doing things the “easy way,” our motto is to do what it takes to be the most professional and compliant operation out there.
Leaders lead, not because it’s the easy thing to do, but because they’re motivated to see their vision come to life—and that’s exactly what me and The Reserve aim to do together.
For all of HIGH TIMES’ culture coverage, click here.