Woody Harrelson recently told me that he “likes my vibe.” Let me set the scene: I was enjoying a joint in the crow’s nest cabana in the garden of theWOODS, his beautiful dispensary-meets-consumption lounge in the heart of West Hollywood, CA, discussing the importance of protecting the Emerald Triangle’s heritage farmers—one of the actor’s passions. The next time I saw him was Monday just past, as we gathered once again at theWOODS to celebrate the milestone of its first year in business.
Ever the bucolic establishment, theWOODS opened its doors to movers, shakers and cannabis lovers on May 15. But there was no roped-off VIP section or heightened security for Harrelson and his celebrity friends. The event specifically neither excluded anyone nor was it promoted—a rare Tinseltown experience to be sure, the land of relentless self-promotion. Instead, there were only good vibes, good friends—and, of course, great weed.
Serendipitously, the event lined up with the release of the latest issue of Cannabis Now magazine—with Harrelson well positioned as its cover story. The privé event was a heady mix of launch party shenanigans and anniversary celebrations.
“In more than a decade of publishing in cannabis, I’ve rarely been so proud to have covered a subject and a location,” Eugenio García, Cannabis Now’s founder and publisher said. “The way Woody Harrelson and theWOODS brought together the community, cannabis and culture is singular. The energy of theWOODS’ anniversary was palpable and I’m excited to see them carry this into the future.”
As I weaved through the crowd of happy-to-be-there guests, I was reminded of the “Third Place” proposition coined by Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz. The concept of the third place is to provide customers with a relaxed and inviting space to unwind and relax outside of the home and work, a place to connect with people from within your community. theWOODS’ Zen garden filled with tropical plants, birds and Koi Carp certainly echoed that sentiment and checked that box.
As my fellow guests and I smoked and vaped our flower and hash in this little slice of weed paradise in WeHo, I was reminded of the relaxed atmosphere of cannabis lounges in Barcelona. It was surreal to freely consume cannabis in such an enchanting setting—a moment for the history books.
Autumn Shelton, co-founder of Autumn Brands, said the dispensary is one of the most beautiful she’s ever seen. “It was incredible,” she said. “From the moment you walk in, you’re greeted with such ambiance and beauty. Then you stroll into the beautiful backyard with a Koi pond and the stunning, two-story cabanas—it’s heavenly. We were able to engage with other people in the industry, consumers and other brands. It was special and very intimate.”
Shannon Belisario, senior brand manager of Zig-Zag, echoed Shelton’s sentiment. “Thorough out our 140+ year history, Zig-Zag has always prided itself on authenticity and originality,” she said. “theWOODS and Woody Harrelson are the true embodiment of those qualities.”
Harrelson’s the man of the hour, riding high once again and starring in hit movies and TV shows. He looked in his element, smiling and laughing with guests, stopping to chat and pose for photos as he walked through the crowds with his Hollywood A-List friends. Everyone wanted to stop, shake his hand, and make their own personal connection with the charming Texan, and he made time for them all.
Celebrations and Celebrities
Devon Wheeler, theWOODS’ co-founder, said that the event wasn’t just an anniversary party; it was a celebration of a work in progress and the first time that all 8000 square feet of theWOODS were open and used as intended.
“Every aspect of the space was intended to be close to nature and a respite off [Santa Monica] Boulevard,” Wheeler said. “It was a star-studded event, and the intention of the space was to be safe and comfortable for customers and for celebrities to unwind and be away from the glare of Hollywood.”
But, Wheeler continued, it’s crucial to highlight the plight of cannabis prisoners while others enjoy their freedoms. “We can’t forget the 40,000 Americans watching the plant’s legal evolution while suffering incarceration—end it now, Mr. President.”
My main takeaway from theWOODS’ first-anniversary party was the genuinely relaxed and inviting atmosphere. It was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. A chance for brands to engage with their customers and for everyone to share their love of the plant. theWOODS is a magical place, far away yet right in the heart of the action. And at the center of it all is Woody Harrelson, Hollywood icon and cannabis advocate.
Needless to say, the feeling is mutual for Harrelson: I like his vibe, too.