Huge expectation and long queues to get inside: the opening of Lowell Farms was a success!
The first cannabis restaurant, bar and dispensary in the United States opened a few days ago. It was filled to capacity and people were left waiting outside, wondering what was hidden behind its doors. And the area could not have been chosen better. The establishment is located in the vibrant and fashionable West Hollywood - or WeHo as the locals call it - half a kilometre from the Walk of Fame. The city has granted 8 licences that permit the consumption and sale of cannabis, beverages and food from among more than 300 applications. Lowell Farms: a Cannabis Café has managed to be the first to meet all the licensing requirements.
“It's amazing to be part of the story. I never thought it would happen!” Andrea Drummer told diners on the opening day.
Andrea is one of the proprietors and the Executive Chef of Lowell Farms. She trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, and in 2012 founded her own cooperative called Elevation VIP. There, she gained prestige for her cannabis-infused dishes, enabling her to prepare an amazing menu for her restaurant.
“It’s important to have a safe space to consume in a community. The only other place I can think of is Amsterdam,” says Andrea, commenting that people from all over the country, and even from other countries, came to the restaurant’s opening day.
The restaurant, bar or dispensary - whatever you prefer to call it - has a capacity of 240 people (with restricted access for minors under 21, of course, in accordance with the law of the country). It has a bar area, another for eating, and a large patio with two different areas: one for smokers and a smoke-free zone.
regard to how it operates, it’s very similar to coffee shops in Amsterdam but with some extras. Like most dispensaries, it has an extensive menu of flowers, extractions, edibles and cannabis products; however, here, the menu reflects the flavours and aromas of hippie California. And on this restaurant’s menu, seasonal dishes perfectly combined with the effects of cannabinoids are available. Yes, that’s right - dishes combined with the effects of cannabis, not infusedwith it. Although Andrea is an expert in this type of cuisine, the current laws of the country do not permit her to offer it to her customers.
“... there must be a place for everyone to enjoy cannabis openly in the community [...]. It is a space for those who are knowledgeable about cannabis, and for those who are not, are curious and want to experience cannabis in a welcoming environment.” Statement from Lowell Farms.
Thinking of offering a unique, safe and enjoyable experience.
“We have staff who speak Spanish and other languages to make the experience more inclusive.” Bianche (Lowell Farms Café spokesperson).
Hosts help customers choose among the varieties available - not only in terms of taste, effects or potency, but also for which best complements the food or drink they are enjoying. Just like the sommelier who helps you to select the wine with which you can best enjoy the dish you are scoffing! Well, this original service has been named “tableside flower service”, and our canna-sommelier, “flower host”.
To be able to carry out all the professional services they offer, the 40 restaurant workers have been trained to keep an eye on their guests, and make sure they can tolerate the cannabis they request. That’s why they have also created another service to prevent customers from driving under the influence of cannabis.
Lowell Farms wants to be safety-conscious, and always stresses the responsibility involved in consuming cannabis.
With its extensive and appealing range of products, plus the pleasant location that it enjoys, it is unsurprising that it’s becoming an important tourist attraction. So much so, that famous people like Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson and Chris Rock have decided to become investors in the project. And they intend to create direct competition with Dutch coffee shops!
The truth is, Lowell arrives in the US at a time when the legalisation of recreational and medicinal cannabis is being approved by more and more states. This makes it a socially-accepted and even respectable business although the drug remains illegal at federal level. Nevertheless, despite being billed as the first cafe dedicated to cannabis in the country, it is already expected that the other 7 licences issued will begin to provide a similar experience in the city.
Meanwhile, in Spain, we have the hazy utopia of cannabis clubs or associations. Maybe we cannot boast so much about cannabis-friendly celebrities, but we can boast about the quality of our flowers.