Cannabis Restaurants: Where, Why, and What to Expect
Cooking with cannabis, it’s safe to say, has shed its outgrown husk of hash brownies and pot pizza for something a bit more spacious, a bit more glam, and a bunch more sophisticated. Cannabis restaurants are now a thing, are leading the voyage into what will certainly be more than a passing fad.
As of October 2019, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, is open for business in West Hollywood, serving both food and cannabis products. As I’m sure you can tell, the world of cannabis restaurants is brand spanking new, with innovative figures like Lowell Farms’ executive chef, Andrea Drummer, charting as yet unmarked territory.
So what’s the scoop (of cannabis infused chocolate chip ice cream)? What’s the ethos behind this emerging world? Where is it happening and what should you expect? And, if this new trend has sparked your creative side, what dishes lend themselves well to cannabis infusion?
Cannabis Restaurants: Where They’re Happening
As it stands right now, cannabis is still illegal to smoke in public places throughout the whole of the USA, the City of West Hollywood, trendsetter that it is, advocated for cannabis to be used for this purpose, and Lowell Farms’ cafe is the first to open its doors to the wide world. But, there are murmurs following suit all across America. Colorado, for example, will be opening its doors to cannabis lounges in the early part of 2020.
However, locally speaking, businesses are still restricted to serving cannabis alongside food rather than in, on, or around it. This means that edibles and cannabis infused foods, are currently (I do apologise for this) off the table. Lowell Farms, and any other restaurants that open in its wake, are effectively operating two separate businesses. There’s the restaurant side of things where the eating happens, and what’s known quite alluringly as the consumption lounge where the…well, consumption happens. Beyond this, the cafe itself, or any other approved for this purpose in the future, cannot operate in close proximity to anything considered a sensitive location, such as schools or hospitals.
Cannabis Restaurants: Why They’re Happening
Well, apart from local and federal legislation aligning as perfectly as the pyramids of Gisa and Orion’s Belt (look it up, disbelievers!), there are several cultural variants that have resulted in the mysterious cannabis restaurant. And trust me, they go way beyond the stoner culture we all helped to become a stereotype 20 years ago.
Anti big pharma and pro self-wellness, for example, have helped to lead us right to our table at Lowell Farms. In fact, Andrea Drummer’s own personal explorations can be mapped onto culture as a whole. Andrea has been taking cannabis medicinally for years, after severe back pain started to affect her life and livelihood. Her options: painkillers or cannabis. Big pharma or learning how to let nature nurture. And, by the amount of positive publicity and surge in community connection and support that Drummer’s ideas have had in terms of her blog posts and restaurant projects, the idea that we as a culture should be healing rather than treating our maladies is a way for a fed up, over-billed by medical expenses, public to subvert the ‘establishment’ and regain their free will, power of choice, and autonomy.
Cannabis restaurants are the end product of an ideological battle that has been waging for years, and the scales have finally tipped in favor of a self-conscious public who are breaking down the barriers standing between them and enlightened self wellness. However much the devil on my shoulder whispers that cannabis restaurants might just be the newest marketing ploy in a country suckled on consumerism, I can’t help but think that this time it’s no joke.
Cannabis Restaurants: What to Expect
Lowell Farms is setting a precedent in the cannabis restaurant scene, juggling ethos with strict regulations. The ethos of Lowell Farms, much like the cannabis movement itself, gives power to the people by adopting a farm-to-table model in which local producers are sourced and develop a direct sales relationship in which traceability and accountability are forefront, as well as boosting the local economy and providing a much needed sense of community. Let us be born anew, together, and be better than we once were in self-awareness.
Lowell Farms, by helping to provide this gift of awareness, must still operate strictly within the system it is working to destabilize, but a highly scrutinized fox in the hen house can still shake things up to their very core. Discretion, safety, and separation exist within the walls of the cafe. An industrial strength air purification system helps keep the smell of cannabis from worrying the neighbors, and cannabis itself is only served within the consumption lounge and not the regular dining room. Moreover, the security and valet services employees have been trained to identify cannabis overconsumption, to keep guests safe and well within the bounds of presentability. Oh, and the ‘last call’ for cannabis is 9:45 pm.
This aside, however, Lowell Farms seems intent on reaching and maintaining a flawless standard of excellence and respectability that other such future establishments will be thankful for. In the consumption lounge you will find alongside your food menu, an accompanying cannabis menu with strains that compliment the food. ‘Flower Hosts’ will then come guide you to the right strain, dosage, and consumption method, based on your unique needs and desires. And, so far so good. Overconsumption has not proven to be an issue, and one does not simply walk into Lowell Farms and walk out a few hours later transformed into the ‘stoner’ we knew so well in our teens. This spotless reputation will help fuel further cultural change.
If you’re dying to try out Lowell Farms for yourself but are restricted by commitments, money, and place, we might have a bit of a sophisticated solution. Try adding cannabis or CBD to your own dishes (responsibly and knowledgeably, and using the best quality, lab tested CBD or cannabis of course) to get a sense of the wider world of cannabis cuisine. There’s all kinds of opportunities for fun experimentation, like cannabis infused popsicles to adding cannabis greens to salad. The cannabis restaurant and the individual, united by our growing sense of unique and individual wellness needs, will continue to revolutionize the cultural landscape, one delicious bite at a time.