The city of West Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, made a landmark decision when it approved a cannabis café, which is touted as the first of its kind in the United States. This café will be an open air restaurant within the city limits that specializes in cannabis cuisine and features a cannabis smoking area.
The café, called Lowell Farms, promised to install an air filtration system to gain unanimous approval from the West Hollywood Business License Commission. This air filtration system will be like the ones used in casinos.
There have been pot shops throughout the city since 2018, but the approval of this cannabis café is considered by many as historic. Many also believe that allowing this cannabis café to operate is the start of more progressive moves, even if a cannabis consumption area license is good for only a year.
Lowell Farms is set to open on September 1, 2019, at 1201 N. La Brea Avenue. The restaurant, however, will be sitting across the street from a synagogue. The Jewish synagogue Congregation Kol Ami is not thrilled about having a cannabis establishment nearby.
During the meeting for the café’s approval, Rabbi Denise Eger asked the Business License Commission to reject Lowell’s application for a business license. She said that she was concerned about the smell of pot infiltrating the air in the synagogue, where families gather for worship, as well as in the rooftop, where they hold events.
However, the rabbi’s request was not granted and she reportedly left without a word when the café was approved.
While Sean Black, co-founder of Lowell Herb Co., which is a partner for Lowell Farms, acknowledges the rabbi’s concerns, he said that their air-filtration system will address these.
A survey released this year by the National Restaurant Association showed that plant-based ingredients, which includes cannabis, were considered to be some of the cannabis industry’s top trends. Moreover, 76 percent of the association’s 650 member-chefs who were surveyed identified cannabis- and CBD-infused food as the second-most popular trend. The top trend goes to cannabis-infused drinks.
End of cannabis prohibition?
The commission also granted Pleasure Med a cannabis consumption license. The business will be a high-end cannabis retail and delivery service with a lounge area.
According to Black, it is the end of prohibition.
Meanwhile, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is excited about how the café could benefit cannabis tourism in the city. Parents who long for a place to smoke weed away from their children supported the idea as well.
No alcohol with cannabis
Lowell Herb is one of the largest high-end cannabis businesses in California. During the day, the café will sell the company’s cannabis products, as well as products from other local pot businesses, along with meals and non-alcoholic cocktails.
At nights, specifically after 9, entertainment company Houston Hospitality will operate a cannabis bar at the café. Houston Hospitality is the owner of L.A.-based Pour Vous, No Vacancy, and Piano Bar. This is to comply with California’s law that prohibits establishments from selling cannabis and alcohol at the same time.
According to Black, their goal is to make marijuana as acceptable as alcohol when it comes to social situations, like dining out with friends.
Black added that as the first cannabis cafe, the pressure is on. What’s more, the city will be monitoring their business for one year while their cannabis consumption license is valid. The city will have to determine how their business is affecting their neighbors like the Kol Ami congregation.
Black also said that they want to set the bar high for businesses that allow cannabis consumption. “We better do it right and not mess it up for everyone else,” he told Los Angeles Times.