First legal cannabis cafe opens in the United States
(3 Oct 2019) LEAD IN:
The first legal Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe in the United States has officially opened its doors in West Hollywood, California.
Licensed to serve meals and cannabis side-by-side but barred from serving alcohol or cannabis-infused food, the new business is already proving popular.
Going out for lunch at a farm-to-table restaurant in West Hollywood has never looked or smelled quite like this.
In the dappled southern Californian sunshine, these restaurant-goers are making history.
They’re enjoying themselves in the company of fellow pot-smokers at the first restaurant in the United States to be licensed to sell food alongside cannabis.
Lowell Cafe – officially “Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe” – is in West Hollywood.
It was just one business from an applicant pool for 300 in the city to seek a cannabis consumption licence, and is the first to open
Guests here can eat their meals while smoking pot, and they can eat cannabis-infused edibles too.
But Californian state law restricts Lowell’s from infusing any of its own food with cannabis on site.
Kevin Brady, the cafe’s director of operations, says the first couple days of trade have been a success.
“The response has been completely overwhelming. Once we opened our reservations and we opened up our phone lines and website , we’ve seen responses form you name it. We’ve had people reach out from Florida, from Colorado, from Michigan wanting to come here and celebrate with friends that they haven’t seen since high school and how cannabis was really a big part of them growing up. I’ve seen families that have wanted to reach out. I’ve seen people that have actually been excited touring in their grandparents, we’ve even had people internationally. I’ve had people from Russia, from Japan, from Italy, that have all reached out looking to plan their vacations around the opening of the cafe. We’re so lucky to have this response and the fact that cannabis means so much to so many different people and how we can actually share and celebrate that with everybody,” he says.
Lowell Cafe is owned by Lowell Herb Company, a California-based organic cannabis farm and retailer of pre-rolled joints.
Its opening here comes at a time when marijuana is still an illegal substance in most US states.
In 2016, California officially legalised recreational marijuana, although it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public places.
While some individual cities in California have regulations that permit people to gather and smoke in certain places, until now there’s never been a restaurant where eating and smoking weed have been permitted.
But the City of West Hollywood is changing that, passing an ordinance in 2017 to start issuing licences.
In the case of Lowell Cafe, two licences have been issued.
There’s one for a restaurant, and another for a dispensary to sell pre-rolled joints, cannabis oil, concentrated cannabis, bongs, and vaporiser pens.
John Leonard from the City of West Hollywood says the city locals have voted in favour of adult use of cannabis by more than 80 percent.
Many pro-pot observers see this opening as the next step toward continuing the legalisation movement for recreational and social purposes.
At Lowell, “bud tenders” help navigate menus that offer various joints, bongs and vaporisers, as well as cannabis treats.
Guests experience “table side flower service” by “flower hosts” who roll joints and bring cannabis products to tables.
Lowell Cafe guests must be over 21.
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