UPDATE: Sept. 17, 10:16 p.m.: The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station reports that three men were arrested in the shooting and robbery incident at 8600 Melrose Ave. They have been identified as Talon Walker of, Phoenix, Ariz., Anthony Dayron Moore of Detroit, Mich., and Dontese Emanuel of Seattle, Wash.
There apparently was at least somewhat of a connection between the men arrested in the robbery and shooting incident at 8600 Melrose Ave. on Friday night and Cookies, the controversial cannabis shop seven blocks to the east. It is a connection that likely will increase the pressure to close Cookies and continue the debate about racism in West Hollywood.
Lt. William Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has informed City Council members that the detective on the scene found bags and receipts from Cookies, receipts from sales about 30 minutes prior to the shooting incident. That incident occurred around 6 p.m. in front of the RtA Melrose clothing store. Two men were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon (firearm) and carrying a loaded weapon, one for false personation, and one for burglary.
Cookies sits just outside the West Hollywood city limits and is Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz’s district. Koretz has expressed concern about claims by nearby residents that customers of Cookies park illegally on Kings Road, where parking is reserved for residents, and make a lot of noise, with radios blasting and people shouting and laughing. They also have complained about customers of Cookies urinating and vomiting and throwing trash in their yards. And they have said that some Cookie’s customers and security guards weren’t wearing the mandated face coverings.
West Hollywood City Council members John Duran and Lauren Meister also have complained about the behavior of Cookies customers. At the West Hollywood West Residents Association City Council candidate forum on Sunday, Duran said he wanted to see Cookies closed. “We gotta get rid of these sort of neighborhood business that bring these sort of adverse impacts into our border and into our community,” he said.
In response to the complaints, Cookies has engaged a crew to clean litter off nearby streets for three to four blocks north and south of Melrose. Cookies also has increased the size of its security staff. Its manager said security staffers actively discourage people from parking on residential streets, instead steering them to Cookies’ parking lot and to space on Melrose Avenue. Cookies also has agreed to urge customers to order online for curbside pickups, which would reduce the number of customers coming into the store. And it has reduced its operating hours, which were from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The City of West Hollywood has taken other steps to keep Cookies’ customers from parking on its streets. One of those is temporarily extending to 24 hours the period during which people must have a city permit to park as of Aug. 17 on the 500 block of Kings Road and on the 8300 block of Clinton Avenue and on the 500-600 block of Orlando Avenue south of Melrose.
Cookies was founded in 2012 by hip hop artist Berner (aka Gilbert Milam Jr.) and his partner Jai “Jigga” Chang, a Bay Area cannabis cultivator and breeder. The Melrose store, which has a large Black clientele, and one on Maywood in Los Angeles are the brand’s flagship stores. There are many more across the United States.
The incident in front of RtA Melrose and the controversy over Cookies has sparked another conversation about racism in West Hollywood. Several of those who commented on WEHOville’s story about the incident in front of RtA, which included a photo of a Black man being arrested, made overtly racist statements.
“It is due to Cookies and all that trash that goes there,” said one commenter. “Due to the BLM marches and local morons who walked with them. This has shown those people how nice our neighborhood is so now they want to hang out here. If this continues this place will end up like Compton.” Compton is a working-class city south of downtown Los Angeles that is known for its large Black and Latin populations and a high rate of violent crime.
Only 4% of West Hollywood residents identify as Black, and Black residents and activists have described incidents of racism that they have experienced in West Hollywood.
If the business was owned by a Baptist and the problems for the neighbors were caused by rowdy Baptists we would be talking about Baptists. Because that’s what they are!
The word “racist” is being thrown around far too freely. Just because an observation is racial doesn’t mean it is racist.
This is the perfect analogy because if a Baptist church opened on that corner and suddenly people were leaving trash everywhere, smoking pot in yards, peeing on people’s property, crowding without masks in a pandemic and drag racing/causing unsafe traffic issues, the whole community would be outraged at a pastor who put his congregation and others in harm’s way. Berner is just counting the money and not being a responsible business owner by being a good community partner. He’s not a good neighbor and in your scenario, the Baptist preacher wouldn’t be a either. Love thy neighbors as thyself.
have never met a rowdy baptist. the owner is a well known rapper…..and that’s the crowd that frequents this business.
I know this might be a revelation for you but rappers have been coming to West Hollywood to eat and party for decades now.
People who rap are often rowdy. Most rappers and their followers are black. It’s not racist to point that out.
If they had just shopped at gelsons nothing would’ve been said. Great article… not
Whoever wrote this article and the last should be put on probation
This article is pretty insane.
I understand neighbors’ complaints about speeding cars, noise, and loud music. but it sounds like cookies is trying to address those issues. i’m glad to hear that someone is finally talking with management about it, instead of just complaining. haven’t enough small businesses gone out of business as a result of corona virus though? we could sure use those rubber speed bumps before every stop sign and in the middle of the block on almost every block, similar to what they have on kings road between willoughby and gelsons. that would help slow people down, and make the neighborhood a… Read more »
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. – Will Durant
Get used to to the new dark ages and the corporate neo- feudalism that will arise.
Hear, Hear Will and Ariel!
another reason why WH isn’t a serious city. would this pot shop be able to open in BH??? of course not.
As the story makes clear, this cannabis shop is not located in West Hollywood and the City of West Hollywood has no control over it.
A literal and figurative blight to the community which may become exponentially more problematic. This can of worms will never be controlled.
I moved to the neighborhood one year before Cookies opened. One of the reasons I was attracted to the area was the proximity to Melrose, the walkability, and it’s general charm. Once cookies opened, although I noticed much more people and car traffic, it was not a big issue. However, once we were on lockdown, the traffic increased threefold, and the disturbance of peace became much more obvious. Loitering, loud music, public vomiting and urinating on people’s front yards, double parking, public consumption of marijuana are only of the few issues the neighbors have had to endure. There are so… Read more »
Your simple, calm, statement of your poor experience as a Cookies neighbor, coupled with your recognition of the efforts Cookies has undertaken, add to the credibility of your criticism.
I hope L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz is listening!
Well said, Vanesa. I hope the author of this article who is clearly trying to stoke a racist slant reads and understands the Cookies issue is about respect for the neighborhood, including neighboring businesses, not racism. And I agree and applaud the measures implemented by Cookies, unfortunately it may not be enough to contain the overflow of their very popular and busy store.
This is one the best comments in this thread. I live within walking distance, but am far enough that I don’t have first hand knowledge of what you’ve experienced. However, I drive by Cookies all the time and always have to take extra care near that area, as the line is almost always out the door and there are pedestrians crossing roads at times.
I don’t know whether Cookies does this, but pot shops on Santa Monica have very prominent signs reminding customers to be courteous to neighbors and not to do certain things that constitute a nuisance.
Wait until the subway comes through and stops in West Hollywood.
We will all be retired by the time they even start construction on a subway here.
you’re right about that.
Isn’t Cookies outside of West Hollywood? It looks like it’s in that cul-de-sac east of La Cienega between LA/West Hollywood. What do people expect the City of West Hollywood do, put up an electric fence? Who is the LA City Council member for that district? Why not have a joint LA/West Hollywood Council meeting to discuss?
LA Councilmen Paul Koretz. And trust me, he is well aware of the issue.
Why is this pot outlet seemingly the most popular among Black folks? Is it the prices? The selection? Jeez, there are countless cannabis stores in and around Weho. Why this one?
Owned by a rapper
ah ha! ok, thanks
They sell quasi-wholesale, so people can buy HUGE amounts of weed at lower prices (and most likely re-sell them for profit). That is why it is so popular.
Well, that would maybe explain it. Who wants to spend more than they have to?
Please discuss how the city plans to protect Weho from the “spontaneous” riots in November after the election.
I, for one, will be out celebrating when Trump loses. Will probably be in the mood to buy people some drinks (if bars are open then)
Which bar first? Meet you there!
Were you out celebrating when Hillary won too? Oh wait.
Who said I liked Hillary? Oh wait.
I was out celebrating the 2018 midterms 🙂
How soon we forget?
There will be rioting and looting if Trump wins. Weho needs a plan in place.
Like when trump stirred Middle East tensions on the brink of WWIII?
He has two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize for “stirring those tensions”.