In the private event world of cannabis tourism, marijuana-infused dinners have blossomed over the past several years. Utilizing careful dosing and culinary techniques that allow participants to enjoy psychoactive effects without forgoing taste, these dinners have showcased the potential of combining high-quality food with cannabis. Unfortunately, most Americans couldn’t enjoy that high-end fusion without forking over a hefty sum. Until now, that is.
This week Lowell Farms opened the first cannabis lounge in California, “serving farm fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily,” according to the company’s website. Not only is Lowell Café the first legal cannabis lounge in California, it’s the first legal lounge in America, allowing diners to openly consume marijuana on the premises as they enjoy their meals.
“We have families reaching out wanting to bring their kids or grandparents and high school groups of friends flying from all over the world,” restaurant director Kevin Brady told the Los Angeles Times. “I feel like we’re Disney World.”
There’s a catch, of course. Due to restrictive West Hollywood laws, a cannabis lounge can either be an establishment that serves marijuana-infused foods, or a place where customers can openly smokes, vape, dab, and consume cannabis products. In addition, no alcohol will be served at Lowell Café—though mocktails, juices, and teas will be served. Customers can purchase all the marijuana goods they need on site, but will receive two separate bills at checkout—one for the food (payable by cash or card), and one for the cannabis (cash only). Those who bring their own weed will pay a $20 convenience charge.
But Lowell Café’s coolest invention is something they’re calling a “flower host.” Akin to a sommelier, a flower host will present different cannabis pairing options with your meals—advising you which marijuana strains and products you should consume alongside your dishes. Your flower host can even roll you a joint on spot with a weed of your choosing.
“Cannabis contains aromatic compounds that occur naturally in different types of flower, creating unique aromas and flavors,” Brady told Eater. “Pairing these aromas and flavors, in addition to the enhancing effects of cannabis, allows chef [Andrea] Drummer to pair a truly unique experience that we can share socially with our guests.”
Lowell Café will be an experiment in many ways and indicate the future of cannabis lounges in others. Whether Americans begin gathering at social places to consume cannabis like they do alcohol could reshape the texture of social lifestyles. We might soon see a future where hitting up a cannabis lounge is as commonplace as hitting a bar. What a world that’d be.