Cypress Hill Rapper Wins Medical Marijuana ‘Lottery’

B-Real (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

A member of the rap group Cypress Hill won a Santa Ana city lottery Thursday for the rights to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Orange County city.

According to the Orange County Register, Louis Freese, better known as rapper B-Real, won the rights to open a medicinal pot shop, along with 19 other applicants. Santa Ana is set to become the first city in Orange County to allow medical marijuana dispensaries after voters approved such shops in November’s election.

The lottery reportedly took place Thursday at the Santa Ana City Council Chambers, where roughly 630 prospective owners submitted applications along with a nonrefundable $1,690 application fee. The city made over $1 million from the application process alone, reports the Register.

Now, each of the 20 accepted applicants must submit a $12,086 application fee to the Santa Ana Police Department for the Regulatory Safety Permit phase of the process, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I think Santa Ana is willing to take the chance to see if this actually works, kind of like Colorado did with with respect to putting the legalization in place,” Freese told the Register after his win. Freese said he plans to name his collective “Dr. Greenthumb,” after the the Cypress Hill song of the same name.

“We want to show…if done correctly and legally, all the good things that it can bring to the actual city–jobs, revenue stream, more opportunity and quality of medicine,” Freese added.

Kandice Hawes, founder and director of the Orange County chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told the Register that the “lottery”-type celebrations represented the wrong way to look at the situation.

“I think it’s kind of unfortunate that the guys who got picked kind of seem like they won the lottery; like they were going to make tons of money, and it’s really more about serving the patients,” Hawes told the paper. “It kind of seems like the hip-hop music scene is going to be moving to Santa Ana and creating a recreational type market, not medical marijuana.”

However Measure BB, the legislation that cleared the way for the dispensaries, comes with four big rules: firstly, the pot shops will only be allowed to operate in two out-of-the-way industrial areas in the city; shops must be at least 500 feet apart from other shops, and at least 1,000 feet away from schools, parks, and residential areas; cultivation is still strictly prohibited; and there is a five percent tax on gross receipts, with an eventual increase to 10 percent.

“We wanted everyone to have a fair, unbiased process in being able to be chosen for one of these locations,” city Councilman Sal Tinajero told the Register. “I believe we succeeded in that.”

Cypress Hill was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Group or duo for three consecutive years between 1994-1996. The group will play an April 20 (420) concert at Denver’s Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom as part of their 2015 tour.