Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, has become America’s first brick and mortar cannabis cafe, recently opening its doors in West Hollywood, California (yes, before Colorado) and it reeks of exclusivity — but rightfully so.
It goes without saying, but most will agree that cannabis and cuisine have an unspoken bond. Yet, it’s taken more than 100 years for America to legally bring them together. So, it’s easy to understand why potheads all over the world are collectively losing their shit that this place ACTUALLY exists.
However, since California voters passed Prop. 64, the Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in 2016, the state has seemed eager to become a candidate to test this cafe-in-a-dispensary business model. Well, it’s here, but you’ll need to make a reservation if you’d like to get inside.
For the thousands of guests already lucky enough to be shown into the wood decor filled dining area of Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, the cannabis smoke-filled interior is casual and inviting, buzzing with the scents of freshly brewed espresso, wafting clouds of cannabis, and food.
Set behind the bustling dining area, guests can opt to sit in a wide, open-air patio, shaded with small trees and shrubs, which maintains the same good-to-be-here feels you would expect to find inside one of Amsterdam’s culturally iconic coffee shops — except it’s all under a big blue California sky.
How it works
Once seated, your experience begins. Guests are greeted by two different servers — one is a cannabis sommelier, or flower host, who can walk and talk you through the entire purchasing process, all done table side. Your food order is placed with another server, both arrive seamlessly.
Here’s where the crux of Lowell Farm’s cafe model functions like a well-oiled machine. For anyone new to cannabis who has awkwardly waited in line at a dispensary — hat brim dipped low, eyes pointed downward, counting the seconds for the next available bud tender to help you — Lowell Cafe addresses it by working to become the antithesis of those interactions.
Be prepared for a truly surreal experience, with an expansive cannabis menu featuring packaged cannabis flower, pre-rolled joints, hashish, and even rentable smoking devices — Lowell Farms thought of everything to make every cannabis connoisseur's dream a reality, without pushing the average user out of their comfort zone.
While you can abstain from purchasing cannabis on location, guests can BYOC (bring your own cannabis) for a “tokage” fee of $20. Guests can also bring in their own smoking devices.
While the cannabis is obviously a central focus of Lowell’s newest concept, don’t forget about the food — none of which contains cannabis. Sporting a modest cafe-style menu, Lowell features a mix of finger foods like Sticky Tamarind Wings, and shareable items like Animal Style corn dogs. From a personal standpoint, the Vegan Bahn Mi was a sleeper hit, which uses sliced cauliflower as the protein.
For years, American culture shunned public cannabis use, thanks primarily to a government-driven, tax-payer funded war on drugs. While many cannabis users looked past the judging eyes of naysayers in public — Lowell Farms is allowing the underground to flourish in public view, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight.
What we learned
If there’s one thing that Lowell Farms has established, it is being able to create a functional model that goes against drug war propaganda, and establishes proof that the public has been willing to explore cannabis-focused brick & mortar concepts — despite decades of anti-cannabis rhetoric.