This month, West Hollywood changed the world by approving a space within the city limits for what is being called the first-ever cannabis café. The open air restaurant, Lowell Farms, will offer a smokers’ spot and cannabis-infused cuisine.
To gain the approval for the space, Lowell Farms agreed that the café would use an air filtration system similar to those used in casinos. And although you can’t drink alcohol there like you can in a casino, you’ll be able to vape, and vape cannabis, so…who cares?
Meanwhile, similar proposals elsewhere, like a planned cannabis lounge in Baltimore, are facing serious pushback. In Baltimore, a medical marijuana state, one main counterargument to the lounge is that you shouldn’t need a social space to medicate.
Furthermore, advocates for the lounge may not all be making the same argument. For example, some might agree with opponents—and say that is why cannabis should be legalized. Others might say there is nothing wrong with the need to medicate around other people, and that use of medication should not be stigmatized. Still others argue that the lines are blurring between recreational and medical use—and that’s fine.
Meanwhile, according to the National Restaurant Association, cannabis and CBD are among the industry’s top trends. The top trend identified by 650 association-member chefs surveyed was cannabis- infused drinks, followed by cannabis- and CBD-infused food.
Another trend restauranteurs are no doubt paying attention to: American adults are smoking less. And while not all former smokers vape instead, many do. Yet they may still seek out a fun, social alternative that doesn’t make them wish they were smoking the whole time like some traditional bars and restaurants might.
And the top trend driving prohibitions on vaping: teen use of e-cigarettes. The open air cannabis café also addresses this concern in the same way a traditional bar does, with age restrictions. Watch for this kind of open air cannabis café as a smart solution to these competing interests in recreational use states.