Melrose Area Residents Are Finding Cookies Distasteful

Cookies, 8360 Melrose Ave. at Kings Road

Cookies, a cannabis store on the southwest corner of Melrose Avenue and Kings Road owned by a prominent hip hopper and a destination for Black customers, has drawn criticism from residents nearby, including those on either side of Melrose Avenue within West Hollywood.

In complaints to the Los Angeles Police Department, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Station, to L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz and West Hollywood Councilmember Lauren Meister, residents have said the Cookies customers illegally park 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. They also have complained that some Cookie’s customers and security guards aren’t wearing the mandated face coverings.

“These people are Urinating all over our Homes Apts Tree’s Cars Everywhere,” said Susan Kraut in a post on the West Hollywood Tri-West section of Nextdoor.com. “aside from being Disgusting it’s a Major Health Hazard for All of Us Our Families and Friends. Trash is being thrown all over the streets. Some of these people have Records and Weapons. They are in groups in the streets smoking marijuana.”

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 two cultivated and marketed new brands of cannabis and also created a streetwear company under the Cookies brand. It sells apparel and accessories products for both men and women as well smoking supplies. The Melrose store and one on Maywood in Los Angeles are the brand’s flagship stores. There are many more across the United States.

Both the LAPD and the Sheriff’s Department and Koretz’s office and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lauren Meister have responded to the complaints. Cookies has changed its operating hours, which originally were from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Now it is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Cookie’s manager, who goes by the name of Z, told WEHOville that he 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. Z 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.

The interior of Cookies on Melrose Avenue

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 as of Aug. 20 on the 500-600 block of Orlando Avenue south of Melrose. The city also is said to be considering installing speed bumps on Kings Road.

Most of those who commented on Kraut’s post on Nextdoor, known for hosting inflammatory allegations, agreed with her. However, several questioned whether the complaints were inspired by racism. “this sounds like a race thing,” said Christopher Sullivan on Nextdoor. Someone else in the area, who asked not to be identified by name, said he also thought the complaints had a racist tinge.

“As most of the businesses in the area mentioned above are currently closed, I immediately knew this was a response to Cookies, the cannabis retailer on Melrose and Kings that has attracted a large and noticeably Black customer base in recent months,” he said in an email to WEHOville. ‘Since the opening of the store, I have welcomed the increase in Black customers in the area. However, I have also noticed a major increase in police presence surrounding the shop.”

“…the concept of ‘No parking any time except for permitted 11R residents,’ in a sense, is a thinly veiled racist attack on a business and its customer base––a way of saying “If you don’t immediately live here, you don’t belong.”

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John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
2 months ago

I hope all that comment get involved in local politics and attend city meetings including Public Safety meetings, therefore you can attempt the change you want.

WehoFan
WehoFan
2 months ago

Drove by the other day and it was packed. Say what you will but Cookies is bringing in a lot of money + taxes for the city. Good for them.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Great, so then the City should just let any business operate, without vetting it and without any concern as to whether it’s dangerous to the surrounding neighborhood and it’s citizens? I think not. That’s ridiculous.

Tom
Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

It is not in West Hollywood. It’s in LA. So LA get the taxes and West Hollywood gets the troubles

Rick
Rick
2 months ago

I have lived on Orlando Ave 30+ years…cookies customers at large are very rude, disruptive, inconsiderate and self-centered. They will park anywhere with no regard to the neighborhood and/or residents. I have seen cars parked illegally with infants, toddlers and minor children in general waiting in cars, with other adults, for the customer to return…they bring their children to a marijuana dispensary!!! They sit in their cars smoking then drive off. They are too lazy to walk to the stoplight on Orlando which makes the jay walking out of control. Cookies trash and a lot of fast food trash litters… Read more »

Bill Skywatcher
Bill Skywatcher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rick

If the illegal parking situation is so bad, sounds like a great place for parking enforcement can hang out on Kings Rd and bring in oodles of additional cash for the city!

Dave
Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Rick

You can’t even drive by at 10:30am without narrowly avoiding the obnoxious jaywalkers. I have seen fights and people making u turns and cutting lanes. It’s just a mess. Meanwhile, the other pot store just a few blocks away has none of these problems.

Grinch
Grinch
2 months ago

anyone who lives by this place knows what a mess it is. One can only hope the city shuts it down. 600 a week does buy a lot of weed…

Jackie
Jackie
2 months ago

It is so clearly transparent and obvious that S. Madison and others on here that are defending this horrendous establishment are commenters who were either planted by Cookies, employed by Cookies or Cookies’ patrons. And what is also so clearly transparent and obviously is that none of this is about race or whether you smoke or not and also that Cookies needs to have it’s license taken away ASAP as any business should that is a direct threat to any neighborhood for so many reasons that have been proven over a million times.

Chris p
Chris p
2 months ago
Reply to  Jackie

My apologies * garbage article lol

Bennett
Bennett
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris p

I agree with Jackie on all of the above. Of course Cookies needs to have it’s license taken away ASAP. Any business of any kind that is a direct threat to any neighborhood, needs to have thier license taken away ASAP; Plenty of businesses have had thier licenses taken away for this reason.

S Madison
S Madison
2 months ago

Marijuana tax revenue hit 2 billion in 2 years so I suggest you people adapt to your new environment. learn to take a few minutes out of your day to go out and pick up the so called litter off the street. Money talks Karen’s and Chads walk

Landon Calrissian
2 months ago

….. Uh? This article is clearly written by someone with a deep-seated racism. All of these points could have been made without bringing race into it. Seeing people justify their racism with these petty middle-class complaints is very saddening. How can you argue it is not racist when race was dragged into this for no reason, with phrases like “THEY probably have records and weapons.” WHAT???????????? The author knows what they said is hurtful and wrong, that’s why they hid their own identity. The lack of introspection and empathy in America is frightening, and disheartening.. As a black male in… Read more »

Cat Man
Cat Man
2 months ago

?

John P
John P
2 months ago

You get what you vote for.

integrity, use your name if you mean it
integrity, use your name if you mean it
2 months ago

the authors brought race into this, and they hide behind the name “staff” – this publication has no integrity.

Buckwheat Bertha
Buckwheat Bertha
2 months ago

All you white people need to calm down. Melrose is one of the busiest areas of the city. It was nearly impossible to find parking before COVID along that stretch. And yes, people used to park on the residential streets, risking a ticket. You constantly dealt with people and transient traffic. But were you complaining then? No. You only complain now because it’s Black people who are in the neighborhood. All you Hollywood hasbeens and never-weres need to get a life. No one has designated you the police or neighborhood enforcement squad. Your sad, pathetic life has led you to… Read more »

S Madison
S Madison
2 months ago

Thank you. So true. They are unhappy with their lives, and if these were white folks lining up it would be A Okay. They’d even offer them lemonade

Juno
Juno
2 months ago
Reply to  S Madison

It has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with behavior. There’s no excuse for people getting high on the sidewalk, blatant littering, reckless driving, etc. If the patrons of this store had any respect for others there wouldn’t be an issue. I used to live in this neighborhood and was shocked to see what’s going on when I visited today. My heart goes out to the neighbors and small businesses that are subjected to this – times are tough enough as it is.

Karen’s Uncle Sam
Karen’s Uncle Sam
2 months ago

I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 6 years. This is the only business in the area that has caused the issues everyone has mentioned. There are many neighborhoods that have “no parking anytime” regardless of the businesses surrounding them. This is so that residents and their guests (not patrons of businesses) have adequate parking. If you feel this is a thinly veiled attempt at racism, then by all means have these ppl come park in ur driveway, your parking lot, or directly in front of where u reside! Sounds fair enough, then you can clean up the trash and… Read more »