America’s first fully-licensed ‘cannabis cafe’ opens its doors – here’s what you need to know

America’s first fully-licensed ‘cannabis cafe’ opens its doors – here’s what you need to know

In parts of the United States people are arrested and charged for carrying small amounts of marijuana, but in California it will now be served up with lunch.

Launching today under the tagline ‘Prohibition is almost over’, the innocuous-sounding Lowell Cafe in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, is set to become the first restaurant in the United States to revolve around the consumption of cannabis.

The cafe will sell pre-rolled joints over the counter, alongside various ‘infused’ goodies, and employ ‘bud-tenders’ to act as sommeliers for the many different strains. The 220 seats are spread between an indoor area and a patio, while guests may freely smoke their own stash for an additional fee.

Notable by its absence is alcohol, which according to state law cannot be sold simultaneously with marijuana.

Set up by Lowell Herb Co – already known for their pre-rolled ‘Lowell Smokes’ stocked by their 300-odd dispensaries – the cafe was the brainchild of co-founders David Elias and Sean Black, who proudly cultivate a ‘farm-to-table’ approach.


Their website includes promises to use only organic fertiliser and avoid synthetic pesticides, and shares tips for everyone from the nervous newcomer to the so-called “canna-pro”. The cafe is open between midday and 10pm, and reservations are advised.

Though the main attraction is undoubtedly herbal, the cafe also sells an extensive array of food curated by head chef Andrea Drummer, apparently “one of the top cannabis chefs in LA.” Her menu has been crafted to compliment the cafe’s strains and, presumably, to stave off the munchies.

Long a cause célèbre in California, the outlet has attracted early interest from Hollywood’s great and good. Miley Cyrus has been a vocal supporter of Lowell’s products, while comedian Chris Rock and DJ Mark Ronson have both invested in the cafe, according to the Daily Mail.


Needless to say, the opening has not been wholly without opposition. The synagogue across the street reportedly raised concerns about the smell, but were assured that the cafe would use an advanced filtration system similar to those used in casinos.

Finally, to clear up any lingering question marks, the cafe is entirely legal. The 2016 US Election may have hit the headlines for other reasons, but it was also a watershed moment for pot-lovers, as a host of states voted to ease restrictions.


Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and California all passed laws roughly equating weed with alcohol. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 11 states plus Washington DC, while medical marijuana is legal in a further 22.

Commercial licences have been harder to come by, and Lowell Cafe is the first of eight pot emporiums set to open in West Hollywood, out of a reported 300 plus applications. The way the wind is blowing, they’ll the first of many.

- Press Association

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