First cannabis cafe in US set to open in West Hollywood

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The world of post-cannabis prohibition awaits newcomers and marijuana connoisseurs at Lowell Farms Cafe in West Hollywood, the first legal cannabis restaurant and lounge in the United States which opens its doors Tuesday.

"We wanted to break the stigma against cannabis so we wanted to create an environment where people could comfortably consume and also enjoy a really fantastic meal," says General Manager Lily Estanislao.

When you walk in to the historic venture, a Flower Host - akin to a sommelier - is ready to help guests choose their strain based on flavor and effect. They know that for many first-timers, it might be a bit overwhelming.

"We always want to feel very approachable. I don't want my knowledge by any means to make someone feel uncomfortable or uneducated. I want to be able to have a conversation with them and hopefully they leave here feeling a little more secure about their personal relationship with cannabis," said Bianca, one of the Flower Hosts.

Flower Hosts are also provided to roll smokes where necessary, while specialized bongs and dabs are also available.

"Everything from pre-rolled joints to bongs that we're renting, pipes that we're renting, and the flower itself, it's pretty amazing," Estanislao said.

Aside from pre-packaged edibles like gummies and chocolate, the law does not allow the cafe to prepare any cannabis-infused food from their own kitchen. Though their head chef, Le Cordon Bleu-trained Andrea Drummer, has designed a menu to enhance the cannabis experience, which can heighten users' taste and smell.

"We have everything from, you know, your healthy salads to your super comfort foods like fried mac and cheese bites and we have burgers, a fried chicken sandwich," Estanislao said. "We tried to run the gambit a little bit. We wanted the whole experience to be elevated."

The restaurant hopes to attract tourists who come to visit California from states that don't allow cannabis for recreational use.

"I come from Kentucky which is a non-legal state and people drive out into the middle of nowhere just to smoke. People would go to extreme lengths to smoke and then end up having to drive after smoking," Nina Funke said.

Michael Long ate at the restaurant Monday.

"I think it's nice. It gives you a nice safe place to come and enjoy cannabis and there's some really good food so I think it's a great thing," he said.

This is the first of eight cannabis cafes that are scheduled to open in West Hollywood.

Patrons must be 21 years or older to enter, even if you have a medical marijuana card.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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