First Cannabis Cafe in the Nation Opens in West Hollywood - NBC Bay Area
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First Cannabis Cafe in the Nation Opens in West Hollywood

Door open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and a large line is expected



    America's First Cannabis Restaurant Opens in WeHo

    The opening of the first ever Cannabis cafe in the United States leads to long lines and a lot of excitement in West Hollywood. Michael Brownlee reports for NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019)

    The nation's first cannabis cafe was set to open Tuesday in West Hollywood.

    Lowell Cafe, located at 1201 N. La Brea Avenue, says the opening is a major step in the normalization of recreational marijuana. 

    "Our ultimate goal is to make cannabis like alcohol -- treat it like if you go to a restaurant and have a wine sommelier come and talk you through your pairings. We want to do the same with cannabis to take that stigma away," Lowell Cafe general manger Lily Estanislas said.

    The new spot will open daily at 10 a.m.  

    So-called budtenders -- flower hosts at Lowell's -- will act like waitstaff to help customers figure out which strain of weed is best for them. The select few who were hired beat out about 800 applicants. 

    Food and drink will not be infused with marijuana, the cafe stresses.

    But it is the first place where a customer can openly light up a joint that was just freshly rolled by a flower host. 

    The cafe will offer an indoor seating area with exposed brick walls and plenty of plants, while the outdoor patio is closed off with high wooden walls and a state of the art filtration system to keep the smoke from bothering neighbors.

    "It’s designed really beautifully - it’s not someone’s shady looking basement, like some cafes in Amsterdam," said customer Kat Phillips, who got a sneak peek Monday. "I think it’s designed really well."

    The Rules
    Under the cafe’s license, they have to stop serving cannabis by 10 p.m., and it has to be consumed on the premises.

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    No one under 21 is allowed. There will be 24-hour security, and customers can bring their own weed and pay a $20 "tokage fee" to smoke it there, much like a corkage fee at a restaurant.

    "I think it’s a good opportunity to teach people about misconceptions and what this experience is all about," customer Heather Birdwell said. 

    No tobacco can be smoked at the cafe and outside vape pens are also prohibited, amid growing concerns over safety.

    "A lot of weed culture has been associated with hippie culture and I think it's interesting to see it move beyond that. So we’re excited something like this opened up," customer Ivan Feign said.

    Doors open at 10 a.m. Tuesday and a large line is expected.