The first cannabis cafe in the U.S. is finally open and it's a big deal. To the team behind the cafe, this is considered a major win for cannabis legalization and the normalization of weed as its the first legal consumption lounge in the United States. Dinners will be served cannabis by a flower host, and will be able to consume it indoors.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood, California, is set to open Oct. 1, 2019. The cafe is located at 1201 N. La Brea Ave. A Lowell representative told Weedmaps News that initial opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, with plans to extend hours eventually to open at 8 a.m. and close at 2 a.m.
The floorplan is spread out over a single-story “campus” with a total of 20,000 square feet (the restaurant area comprises 6,000 square feet). It is not set on a rooftop, but is part-indoors, part-outdoors with patios.
The campus is separated into four parts: the Lounge, the Garden, the Cafe, and the Lot. All four spaces allow diners to indulge in food, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and wine. The Cafe is the only space you can't consume cannabis; the Garden, Lot (meant for parking and additional event space) and the Lounge all allow weed smoking, vaping, and edibles.
The parent company, Hacienda, said it has worked towards this moment for three years. Lowell Herb Co., a California-based cannabis company, wanted to open the cafe in order to create a unique cannabis consumption experience. Executive Chef Andrea Drummer and General Manager Kevin Brady are at the helm.
“For us, this is the real end of prohibition,” David Elias, co-founder and CEO of Lowell Herb Co. parent company Hacienda, told Variety. Hacienda was one of 300 companies that applied to West Hollywood for the onsite consumption permit. Of them, only 16 licenses were awarded; eight licensees will offer smoking and vaporizing cannabis onsite, while eight will offer cannabis-infused food.
Diners must purchase weed at the cafe for consumption, and it needs to be consumed onsite. People can also drink wine and beer, or even drink a decadent “mocktail” that doesn't contain alcohol nor cannabis.
Here are eight things you can expect when dining at the U.S.'s first cannabis cafe:
1). You Have to be at Least 21 for Smoking Areas.
"The restaurant is for everyone," Lowell Farms representative Libby Dolan said. The Cafe section is all ages, while the Garden, Lot, and the Lounge allow cannabis consumption and are for adults 21-and-up. "We have the non-smoking patio that will be open to all ages and is where the beer and wine will be. To enter the smoking areas, you have to be 21 and up,” Dolan said. The weed consumption areas will welcome diners when they present their government-issued ID.
2). Reservations are a Good Idea.
Reservations are now open and they have been filling up fast, Lowell representatives explained. Walk-ins are accommodated, though. Diners who walk in may have to wait a few hours for one of the coveted bar seats or the few tables that are not reserved. Turnover should be quick and prompt, though, as Lowell told its diners that the tables are reserved for 1 1/2 hours per party. No sitters! Pictures are welcome and encouraged, but pets are not.
3). Debit Card or Cash is Required for Cannabis Purchases.
Diners must pay either by debit card or cash for their cannabis purchases from the flower host upon ordering. There is an ATM on site, so don't fret. The flower host will request cash payment for your cannabis purchases and the weed bill can run separate from your dining bill. Credit and debit cards will be accepted for food and drink purchases.
4). Weed, Concentrates, and Edibles Are for Sale.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe sells cannabis flower in prerolled joints and buds, vapes, pre-packaged edibles, concentrates, and extracts. Dabs will be on deck alongside Lowell cold-pressed cannabis vapes, Lowell prerolls, and Lowell flower. Brand partnerships include 710 Labs, Défoncé, Maven, 22 Red, Space Coyote Nation, LA Kush, Kikoko, Two Roots Brewing Co., and more. Expect a flower menu to rotate concentrate brands, edible brands, and other offerings within the licensed adult-use cannabis market of California.
5). Air is Filtered by Plants and 'Casino-Grade' System.
There is smoking, vaping, and consumption allowed indoors, in the Lounge, as well as in the Garden. How does this pass health code for restaurants? Using a powerful air purification system, Lowell co-founder Sean Black told the Los Angeles Times, plus a ton of air-filtering plants. The company also said to expect two “gorgeous 60-year-old Italian olive trees” on the Garden exterior patio, as well as rosemary, honeysuckle, jasmine and wisteria.
6). Dabbing is on the Menu.
Yes, you can dab inside the Lowell Cannabis Cafe. The cafe is using one of the safest ways for dabbing, a high-tech device called the Puffco Peak. It doesn't use butane and is a popular electronic smart rig, a nice improvement on the handheld vape with all the convenience. The cafe also has a quartz banger dab rig only for the more experienced dabbers.l. Normalization of dabbing? Coming right up.
7). Chef Drummer Created the Non-Infused Food Menu.
Drummer, an acclaimed cannabis chef, designed the cafe's menu to be “complementary to heightened senses from cannabis,” according to a press bio. Dishes on the inaugural menu cost between $10 and $30. Drummer plans to utilize local farmers markets and fresh produce to a seasonally-changing menu, and believes that the balancing of terpenes and flavor is what makes the dining experience unique. Items include jalapeño fried mac and cheese balls, Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwiches, and vegan nachos.
8). You Can BYOB (Bring Your Own Bud) with a 'Tokeage' Fee
Lowell Cafe's website says there will be a “bring your own bud” policy with a $20 “tokeage fee.” This is a mirror to wine's “corkage fee” that one might find in restaurants, traditionally for the whole table when you bring your own bottle. The local regulations say dispensaries can't sell weed past 10 p.m. so 9:50 p.m. will be “last call” for cannabis. The BYOB policy will extend to the later hours.
Feature Image: Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe opens on Oct. 1, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. It is a restaurant offering marijuana-infused cuisine and the first onsite cannabis-consumption restaurant in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Lowell Herb Co.)