Thursday September 13, 2018
By Andrew Ward
In case you haven’t heard, Los Angeles is pretty well-known for cannabis. The City of Angels is also known for being a beautiful city that can sometimes get lonely and trying. The wonder and opportunity of the area can often be cut by standstill traffic and a community that sometimes appears more insular than communal. So, how do you navigate it all? How do you find your way in L.A. and its cannabis scene without tripping up? We spoke to a couple of folks in the city’s cannabis community for a look at how and what it takes to thrive, not just survive, in this incredible city.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Scene
“The cannabis scene in LA is kind of nuts right now," explains media host and relations expert Ellen Hancock, who is on her second stint in the city. "Everybody’s gunning for market share. Cannabis businesses of all kinds are popping up left and right. Weed lounges just got approved in West Hollywood. Investors are literally at weed parties trying to find cannabis entrepreneurs to throw their money at. Everything is kind of disorganized and booming."
In addition to the business aspect of cannabis, Hancock has seen a shift in consumption as well. Growing up in Northern California, she came up in the communal, black market cannabis scene. But now, she notes the shift towards dispensaries and delivery services. "Now you can go to a shop or call a delivery person and you can choose between strains, and edibles, and tinctures and all sorts of things. So, like everybody, I’m playing around more with trying different ways of consuming and enjoying the variety."
While thrilled with options, Hancock joins a number of consumers, especially in California, that note a downturn in social consumption compared to pre-legalization days. "The sale is less personal. I find myself having to be aware and proactive about keeping the social ritual of it alive for me."
The L.A. Job Market
Despite cannabis revenue coming in slower than expected, the job market in Los Angeles and beyond in booming. Data from ZipRecruiter found that Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area advertised the most pot-centric positions in any legal marketplace. Today, a quick search of job sites from Indeed to Vangst shows the range of positions available in the City of Angels. Everything from Budtender to on-screen personality positions are out there. Heads up, if you're in media, L.A. may be the ideal spot to consider. Not too many destinations compare to what L.A. has to offer in terms of on-screen opportunities.
Brett Fink is a founding team member of the newly launched cannabis company, Old Pal, and just moved back to L.A. Originally from New York City, Fink first got a taste for L.A. living while working for Snapchat. He told PotGuide, "I realized how many big brands swirled around the creatives here and that's what made Old Pal a no-brainer."
To make a name for yourself in L.A. or cannabis in general, Fink recommends people network, be specific about their goals and to get a little creative. "One of my earliest jobs at [a Silicon Valley venture fund 500 Startups] was landed because I sent them a video of me singing and playing guitar about me working. They emailed me over a year after I made that, go figure!"
Cost of Living
A booming job market and an expanding line of cannabis options sounds like an ideal place to be living. That said, any major city is going to drive up your cost of living, and L.A. is no different. Those planning to come from small towns and mid-sized cities should prepare themselves for higher costs associated with just about everything from transit to groceries to rent.
That said, those coming from other well-known U.S. destinations shouldn't be in for as much of a surprise when it comes to prices.
Data from Nerdwallet found that living in L.A. was 19% cheaper than in Brooklyn. This includes 29% lower housing costs as well as modest drops in food, entertainment and healthcare costs. However, transportation does increase by 5% as gas and gridlock traffic are often still preferred over the L.A. transit system which is experiencing historic lows in usage this summer.
Tips for Making it in L.A.
Living in L.A. can be a different experience from most other places. Both Hancock and Fink spoke to us about the importance of finding friends and a community. From networking events to classes for professional and personal interests, the city has a bevy of opportunities to connect if you look in the right places.
In this sometimes lonely and insular city, it is vital to make an effort. As Fink explains, "It will take you a long way." Speaking of community, the city's notoriously gridlocked traffic makes choosing a neighborhood much more important than it does in other locations. As Hancock told us, "You’ll want to stay local as much as possible because traffic is awful. So explore a bit and find your vibe before you settle in." To those points, Fink suggests considering finding your first place without a lease through Craigslist or other platforms. He explained that "it will help you on the social side and you won't need to spend as much cash up front."
Above all else, remember that L.A. can be trying but also immensely beneficial. After leaving to only return once again in 2013, Hancock knows how to make it here. "Los Angeles can either break you down or build you up. Find your people and places that feel like home. Nurture your private life so the rest of the madness feels like an adventure." And what may be the most helpful tip of all, she added, "and always double check those parking signs! Parking Enforcement is no joke here."
Do you have any tips for moving to Los Angeles? Share them in the comments below!