The John Sowden House in Los Feliz, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son Lloyd Wright in 1926, has a new owner. Dan Goldfarb, the buyer, picked up the estate for around $4.7 million, dipping into a personal fortune he amassed the old fashioned way: by selling cannabis to pets. His plans for the famous property now include opening up a “cannabis oasis” in the space.
The company, Canna-Pet, manufactures a line of biscuits, tinctures, and capsules that purport to use non-psychoactive CBD oils derived from industrial hemp to treat a wide variety of ailments in cats, dogs, and horses, including anxiety, aggression, cancers, and pain.
“We love animals and our goal is to help as many as possible,” he says. “The nutritional potential of cannabis, the benefit it can provide to animals, was impossible to ignore. It was an immense, plant-based resource for good.”
And, in spite of the logistical challenges of running any large-scale business in the cannabis industry, for pet or human, Goldfarb has done well. When a friend sent him the Zillow listing for Sowden house, he was interested in investing in the property even though the then Seattle-based entrepreneur had yet to even visit L.A.
“I had never seen the house before, I had never been to L.A., I had never seen anything like it,” Goldfarb says. “When you walk into that house, whether you are 8 or 80, no matter what you’ve seen or done, it makes you take pause and be in the moment.”
That concept informs the public events that will be held at what he terms the “cannabis oasis” space, including community gatherings, performances, and art installations.
“Cannabis is obviously what the press picks up on, but the story isn’t just cannabis, it’s about all the things cannabis brings together,” he explains of his vision. “And oasis for freedom of thought and expression, a safe place to be relaxed and comfortable among intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and artists, to enjoy thoughts and work collectively for social good.”
Collaborating with him to create this sort of 21st-century spin on an Old World salon is Katie Paltrow, curator of an event series known as The Black Dahlia (the house was owned by Dr. George Hodel, who was considered a prime suspect in the infamous Black Dahlia murder, and one theory states he committed that 1947 crime, and possibly additional murders, in the house’s basement).
“Sowden House allows guests to consume on-site, which is great because there aren’t any other licensed venues in Los Angeles [that do],” Paltrow explains. “Cannabis creatives—artists, musicians, chefs, educators, and healers—they get a special, private space to share their new work and ideas with a like-minded audience.”
But her goals for the oasis’ events go beyond just sharing cannabis innovations. “The Black Dahlia events are a space to feel free and fully express your best self.”
Goldfarb is looking forward to caring for the historic home into the future. “Sowden House has transformative power, it is an amazing thing to experience, and we are thrilled to be its custodians and advocates,” he says.
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