A rooftop space in West Hollywood tastefully festooned in greenery and flowers is far from an unusual description of a restaurant in one of California’s most vibrant urban hotspots. But the one set to open its doors to paying customers on October 1st of this year will have a major difference. The trained staff moving between tables and advising on pairings with different dishes won’t be sommeliers recommending wines. Instead they will be “flower hosts” advising on strains of marijuana diners may choose to accompany their food.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café will, from the beginning of next month, be the first ever cannabis restaurant in the USA. A spin-off of high-end cannabis growing company Lowell Herb Co., which is backed by celebrity investors including Miley Cyrus and comedian Chris Rock, Lowell Farms secured the license it needed to open the “farm-to-table restaurant highlighting cuisine and cannabis” back in July. And with preparations now complete, the long anticipated opening evening will take place next Tuesday, October 1st.
Recreational use of cannabis has been legal in California since 2018 and is now legal in a total of 11 states plus Washington DC. Medical use of the drug is legal in 22 states. By 2024 many expect full legalisation to have become a reality in 20 states with Illinois set to become the 12th on January 1st 2020. However, on a federal level cannabis is still illegal, which can make running businesses in the sector problematic. Many financial services companies including banks do not work with companies in the sector for fear of legal complications.
However, California’s famously entrepreneurial spirit is clearly happy to deal with these complications and plough ahead. Lowell Herb’s co-founder Sean Black explains that the idea for the restaurant “came out of the idea that cannabis should be treated equally to how alcohol is treated in society”.
Given the renowned effect of cannabis on the appetite it could also be a very smart business move. Lowell Farms should probably make sure it is well stocked on desserts ahead of opening night. Dishes that will be on the menu include a gourmet fried chicken sandwich, healthy salads and.. caramel popcorn which could well prove to be favourite with diners. The food itself, at least for now, will not be infused with cannabis. Customers will instead be provided with a cannabis menu whose offerings can be smoked or otherwise consumed at the table.