The US’ first marijuana-based restaurant opens in LA

Ana Milena Varon | EFE
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Los Angeles, USA – With a full house and people waiting outside, California’s Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café on Tuesday October 1, became the first business in the United States with the license to sell food, beverages and products based on or derived from marijuana, which visitors may also smoke within the premises.

The cafe’s spokesperson Bianca Blanche told EFE that the initiative was being well received.

“People are excited about this new venture and management is happy with how things have kicked off,” she said.

Located in West Hollywood, the establishment, an example of the US weed market’s current bonanza, is less than a mile away from Walk of Fame and is open to people above the age of 21.

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café not only seeks to draw in experienced cannabis users but also offers a guide for newbies.

Blanche explained that, like her, there are several specialized people who will guide customers through the gamut of cannabis-based products, as well as food and beverages that can help them with the experience.

They also have staff members who speak Spanish and other languages to make the experience a more inclusive one.

The inauguration of this place comes almost three years after California’s voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized the sale, cultivation and personal consumption of ganjah among adults.

Since the law came into effect in 2018, California’s legal marijuana market has experienced rapid growth.

According to a report released in August, by the end of this year, California is expected to have made $3.1 billion in sales of cannabis products, which would put it at the top of the world’s reefer industry.

The report “California: Lessons from the World’s Largest Cannabis Market”, prepared by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, estimated a 23-percent growth in 2019 compared to the previous year’s $2.5 billion in sales.

In the same vein, a poll released on Tuesday revealed that most voters in California want municipalities to allow marijuana stores in their communities.

The study by the University of California Berkeley and the Los Angeles Times found that 63 percent of Californians surveyed were in favor of their city granting licenses to marijuana outlets.

The figure went up in Los Angeles County, which contains the city of West Hollywood. In this area, 68 percent of respondents supported granting more permits.

Blanche, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who has been linked to cannabis legalization and the business resulting from it for the last five years, claimed that many businessmen want to enter this industry.

She explained that they were one of 300 applicants for a license for a business like this in the city of West Hollywood, and the first to meet all the requirements.

The Dominican believes that a large part of their success can be attributed to the seriousness with which they have taken the enterprise.

An example of the new experience they offer is the menu designed by chef Andrea Drummer, who claims it will help improve one’s experience with cannabis, because it can increase the sense of taste and smell, according to Blanche.

Drummer told EFE that it was a historic moment not only for cannabis, but for the whole country, and that it was rewarding to open a space that encouraged educational and responsible consumption of marijuana.

Blanche stressed that none of the dishes that come directly from the kitchen contain cannabis; it is only present in chocolates, honey and some bakery products that meet the legal requirements.

At the moment, the outlet remains open from 10 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, and also has a service to prevent customers under the influence of cannabis from driving a car.

However, not everyone in the neighborhood is happy with the inauguration of the cafe. Among them are people from a next-door synagogue, who have said that an outdoor patio will lead to marijuana smoke in the area.

On the other hand, Blanche underlined that it was not permissible to smoke in the patio, as they were seeking to contribute to the community and find a way to benefit everyone.