On 420 eve on April 19, former top NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown made an appearance at Lemonnade Van Nuys and provided a sneak peak of his new strain, AB Biscotti, and his debut album Paradigm, marking his creative shift into the music industry. DJ Carisma and WeWorking founder and reality television personality Steve Lobel, who co-owns the dispensary, were also in attendance.
Lemonade Van Nuys isn’t just a dispensary; it looks like a hip-hop museum. The first thing I notice is a Death Row Records throne surrounded by other expensive-looking memorabilia from hip-hop history, affixed like museum artifacts. And there’s a recording studio. In the back of the shop, there’s a grow room filled with frosty plants. DJ Carisma was spinning, mixing in one of her new tracks with Lil Kim.
People went wild when Brown walked out. Brown worked with Ye in the studio to produce the album, and he was recently president of Ye’s Donda enterprise. The album features Da Baby, Young Thug, French Montana, Fivio Foreign, Young Thug, Jacquees, and Keyshia Cole.
The new strain is the result of a collaboration between Brown and Los Angeles-based brand JUUG to release AB Biscotti. Biscotti cultivars are powerful and tend to creep. When discussing the move into cannabis and music, Brown said what he feels more than anything else—gratitude.
“I’m really grateful to not only work with, you know, great artists, but express my creativity,” Brown told High Times. “I’m really grateful to be here today on behalf of JUUG promoting the new strain—AB Biscotti.”
Brown shifted focus from the NFL for the new pursuit in music, a bold move that he isn’t willing to tackle. “So I’m just beyond grateful to be here to have a whole vision shift and looking at things from my perspective and [you] know, having a bold vision that [is realized],” Brown said.
Hailing from Santa Ana and Power 106, DJ Carisma is the “Queen of the West Coast radio,” and produced tracks for artists such as Tinashe, Chris Brown, Jeremih, and Ty Dolla $ign.
“We’re here; We’re out here. Brand new strain. I love it,” DJ Carisma told High Times. She was in her element and could not be any more positive and energetic. “I love how he’s going global like this. I love it. Lemonnade is one of the coolest stores. If you ain’t checked out Lemonnade in Van Nuys, people need to come.”
As it turns out, DJ Carisma also has a hand in the pot industry. “I love how they blended the culture of weed and hip-hop. It’s beautiful,” DJ Carisma continued. “And you can get my strain here. That Carisma OG is officially available at Lemonnade here too. So let’s go!”
It truly is a different experience inside Lemonnade Van Nuys—a whole lot that you wouldn’t expect. “We created something magnificent and original in Van Nuys, California, right behind the private airport called Lemonade. Powered by Weed Working,” Steve Lobel told High Times.
Lobell has been a music executive for over 35 years, working with everybody from Run-D.M.C., Bone, Thugs N Harmony, Nipsey Hussle, Three 6 Mafia, Eazy-E, The Outlaws, Fat Joe, Big Pun, and so on.
“I wanted to create something different because I got into the cannabis business about six years ago with my partner Berner with Cookies,” Lobel said. “The reason why we didn’t call this Cookies is because we have a Cookies, Will and Hill store not too far from here. We have Cookies Maywood, and we have a bunch of stuff, and we’re opening a bunch of stores across the country [and] in Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.”
Pictures of Lobel with familiar faces in hip-hop are all over the walls.
“But here is something different, right? Because of microlicenses,” he said. “We did a hip-hop museum where people are dropping off their, you know, memories and a lot of stuff I horded from my career of 35 years.”
Lobel said that everybody comes in there, from Benny the Butcher, Conway, to Krazy Bone to Jay-Z to Jadakiss. The company is opening two stores in Massachusetts by the summer, with more projects in Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
“Me and Scott just opened a treatment center called the Heavily Center (THC in Studio City, where we’re helping people with a drug addiction, alcohol addiction, using cannabis,” Lobel said. “So, you know, cannabis is a plant. No one overdosed; No one passed away from cannabis.” Lobel thanked his mentor, Jam Master Jay and others.