First Cannabis Cafe Opens in United States


Michael Short

Inside Lowell Greenery

The illegalization of cannabis was not always present in the United States. In fact, before it was demonized in the 1990s, the plant was present in most medicines available to the public due to its medicinal properties found in one of its main active ingredients, cannabidiol (CBD). This property has been most commonly known to treat anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. The banning of use and sale of the plant became official in 1937 with the Marijuana Tax Act, and later replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s, where it remained to be labeled as a Schedule 1 substance. Although it contains medicinal properties known to man, the banning of the product was a decision made with the intent to furtherly demonize Mexican immigrants soon after the Mexican Revolution where there was an increase of immigration from Mexico to US states like Texas and Louisiana. When the public began to develop fears involving these new citizens, they used marijuana as a way to demonize them by saying by the use of the plant induced dangerous behavior. Most of the people making these claims didn’t even know that marijuana was something that many of them had in their medicine cabinets because the term was brought with the immigration, and they had only ever known it as ‘cannabis’. Furthermore, illegalizing marijuana was mainly used as an unfair gateway to search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants. After 59 years of cannabis being considered an illegal substance throughout the country, California became the first state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in 1996, and it wasn’t until 16 years later that Colorado became the first states to legalize it for recreational use.
As many know, more and more states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Currently in the United States, more than half of the country has legalized the use of medicinal marijuana, and eight states have legalized it for recreational use, including California. As one of the first states to legalize, California has also taken another step towards ending prohibition and making history by opening the first Cannabis Cafe in America.

Lindsey Bartlett The outside seating area at Lowell Cafe.

Lowell Cafe officially opened on October 1st in West Hollywood. Its restaurant allows customers to openly consume marijuana on the premises. They are allowed to bring in their own supply for a charge, but may also purchase cannabis products upon arrival as well as food. In this restaurant, servers are considered “flower hosts” and deliver different things to customers like different cannabis products as well as items for the mechanism of usage which are available for rent. Although customers may bring in their own edible products, the cafe is not prohibited to sell food which contains edible marijuana that is not a packaged product.
Since its opening, the restaurant has been visited by several celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Kimmel, Usher, and others. Customers including these are able to take in the chill environment which is highly decorated with greenery indoors and outdoors to match the theme of the cafe. There is also a wall decorated and themed by historical imagery of famous pot partakers which some customers are able to enjoy when observing the wall in the ladies’ restroom.
Because of the distinct smell that marijuana creates which some people don’t like, Lowell Cafe uses a ventilation system that is mostly present in the outside area and costs about $200,000. The flourishing greenery throughout the inside and outside of the cafe also helps mask the smell of marijuana with fragrant jasmine, lavender, wisteria, and rosemary.
Twenty years ago, many probably would have never guessed that they would be able to one day easily walk into a store to purchase this substance which they have always known to be illegal. After it became legal, states quickly began to sprout many dispensaries for people of age to purchase marijuana. This crazy new idea of creating a restaurant where people can openly smoke, may in time become something that society considers the new normal. It’s important to note that the cafe is open only to those 21 and older. It is illegal for people under 21 to use marijuana recreationally.

It will be interesting to see if more cannabis restaurants begin to open and if other states will begin to legalize the recreational use of marijuana as well with the increasing acceptance of the substance.