Odds are high that Lowell Cafe will not see a single dine and dasher once it opens its doors to the public on October 1. That’s because Lowell Cafe, a new restaurant coming to Los Angeles’ West Hollywood next month, is a full-service cannabis cafe that lets you order a joint to go with your food. The first of its kind in the United States (legally, at least), the farm-to-table dining experience offers something never seen this side of the Atlantic. Guests are greeted by their server once they’ve been seated and are given the opportunity to order a joint from a carefully curated menu of flower. Servers will then roll you a joint right at your table as you peruse a menu of handcrafted plates designed by Chef Andrea Drummer, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef.
If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. Where Amsterdam’s coffee shops offer a social environment to partake in cannabis, California’s efforts to normalize the substance in a recreational environment have largely stayed private. Thanks to ever-changing laws that prevent companies from experimenting too much, the state has not been able to launch a public space designed specifically for cannabis consumption until now. Where consumers are free to buy the product as they please from any one of the hundreds of dispensaries that have popped up throughout California, they’ve never been allowed to consume cannabis in the same place that they buy it until now.
The New Normal
Lowell Cafe seems to be a testing site for the potential of what could be a highly successful new business model, should things run smoothly. The business will operate under a “Cannabis Consumption License.” This means that Lowell Cafe will be able to sell anything from vapes, to flower, to pre-packaged cannabis products in the way that a dispensary would, with the added perk that lets customers consume the products onsite. Businesses in other recreational states have popped up in recent years, but never quite like this. In Denver, hungry stoners can enjoy cannabis infused menu items from certain restaurants, or massage parlors that offer cannabis and CBD massages as part of their spa menu. Ordering a joint to have with your dinner, though, is something new.
“For over a century we’ve been forced to hide cannabis consumption out of public view, but that time is now over,” reads the restaurants website. “We’re proud to announce Lowell Cafe – America’s first cannabis cafe serving farm fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily. Sit on our patio, order a meal, have a conversation and experience cannabis together.” The experience of having a chic environment to relax, have a bite to eat, and smoke a joint seems to be the major drawing point for future visitors. The restaurants reservation list is already filling up. To assure that everyone can have a fair shot at visiting the restaurant in its opening days, visitors are limited to a 90 minute visit, but each “Flower Host” (read: server) will be there to help customers enjoy their experience at the organic farm-to-table restaurant without feeling rushed in and out.