In operation since 2007, LaBrea Collective had a rep as one of LA’s premier pot dispensaries, allowing clients to partake onsite. On any given night upwards of 50 people could be seen toking on bongs, pipes or joints while being tended to by helpful budtenders who would serve and assist medical marijuana patients from noon to midnight.
The party came to an end on June 20 for the smoke bar/dispensary after a ballot measure that banned onsite smoking at marijuana dispensaries. In accordance with voter-passed Measure D, its objective being to codify the legality of dispensaries: reduce their number and disallow smoking at the venue.
Proposition D, written by the City Council, imposed a cap of 135 on dispensaries in Los Angeles -- the number of facilities that were already open and registered with the city before a moratorium was put in place in 2007.
Clinics that were shut out of the 135 had proposed Initiative Ordinance F to regulate dispensaries, but not cap them. A third measure, Ordinance E, also capped the number at 135, but offered fewer other restrictions. Voters supported D with 62.57% of the vote, but rejected F and E.
At the time the Prop was passed, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said he anticipated having to take reluctant dispensaries to court in order to shut them down. He said, “We will begin the process of making all dispensaries in the city, and owners of those properties, aware of the law. We expect a high level of voluntary compliance and we will take steps to ensure that all dispensaries follow the law. In the coming months, we nonetheless anticipate litigation -- both to close illegal shops and to defend the city's new law.”
Now relaunched with the name Treehouse Social Lounge, the dispensary is now compliant with the law: they have divided its members' only bar area from its dispensary operations. Still a huge hit, with nearly 1,600 followers on Instagram, the alcohol-free clubhouse allows members to bring their own weed and enjoy the surroundings, or legally buy weed. TreeHouse membership ranges from $5 a day to $420 a year.
Like a private businessman’s club with a twist, members are permitted to have pipes, bongs, joints and blunts, though tobacco is shunned. They can also rent bongs by the half-hour, including a $1,500 model.
Organic, healthy snacks (plantain chips; freeze-dried fruit; Mojo Clif bars) and beverages (coconut water; Honest Tea; yerba mate) are accessible in the vending machines. No outside food or drinks are allowed. Just like any exclusive club there’s also a bank of big flat screen TVs for watching sports, music video or computer games. In addition there are smoking accessories on sale as well as a popcorn machine, a touch-screen bar game console, and a small stage for DJs, bands, speakers or comedians.
TreeHouse Social Lounge, 5025 W. Pico Blvd., open 4pm-12am on weeknights; 4pm-2am on weekends.