America's first cannabis smoking cafe is now open for business

Published Oct 27, 2019 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / José Antonio Luque Olmedo

Federal marijuana legalization has yet to occur in America, but so far, 33 states allow for the consumption and possession of both medical and recreational cannabis. This shift has introduced a bustling new market that is flourishing across the region despite strict border restrictions. The introduction of the legal dispensary along with new and exciting public consumption laws that allow consumers to enjoy smoking weed in public areas have also arisen, but until now, there has never been an opportunity for a legal indoor facility for stoners to enjoy.

The Lowell Café

The Lowell Café is located in the heart of West Hollywood, California, and carries a license for a restaurant in a unique twist of jumping through loopholes, to stay within the fuzzy bureaucratic cannabis laws. The rooftop restaurant has tables and servers both indoors and outdoors to allow consumers the choice between getting high under the stars, or getting comfy in a more typical restaurant atmosphere, all while carrying a more complete menu than any average cannabis dispensary of pre-rolls, buds, concentrates and edibles.

What to expect

If the idea of having a regular waitress giving you advice on smoking weed isn’t overly appealing, then don’t worry, as the owners of Lowell Café have you covered with a separate employee who acts as a budtender that can help by serving, making recommendations, and even rolling up your herb for you as you enjoy a hot delicious meal. If that isn’t enough to sell you on its own, then the extensive menu that includes everything from your average stoner foods to more exquisite formal options, there is a little bit of something for everyone.

The main complaint about this kind of establishment surrounds air quality, but of course, that’s just another amazing feature of the Lowell Café, who uses high-quality fans and air purifiers to keep the air fresh so that you can enjoy smoking weed and eating, without clouds of smoke hovering around your table. To help, even more, the restaurant and patio are stocked to the brim with air scrubbing plants that add color and clean the air for everyone inside. While the cost of most of this experience is on a per order basis, there is a $30 “uncorking” fee to have your budtender roll your blunts for you, but that also includes a massive selection of unique rolling papers to choose from, and a skilled employee to ensure that the job gets done right.

Jumping through loopholes

Since federal marijuana legalization has yet to be introduced in America, the owners of the Lowell Café had to abide by some confusing and often difficult to decipher restrictions to stay within the law. The café holds a restaurant license in order to claim taxes and function as a legal business at the federal level, and a dispensary permit to abide by local state laws. Since federal regulations for restaurants require nothing other than food to be served in a restaurant, the dispensary and kitchen are entirely separated by doors that seal, but customers seated in either area can order food. There are also firm state rules that prohibit cannabis and alcohol sales in the same location, so there are no spirits on tap.

Luckily, consumers who want a safe space to enjoy smoking weed alongside good food don’t seem to mind the minor restrictions, as the only complaint from the owners so far is that business is booming, and tables are difficult to clear for the long list of awaiting patrons who wish to see the full experience for themselves. Now that there is one, more are expected to follow, setting a precedent and making a statement going forward about what stoners really want out of a cannabis serving venue.

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