California City Approves First-Of-Its-Kind Cannabis Café

The business hopes to open in West Hollywood within a couple of months.

A rep demonstrates the JPAQ childproof marijuana joint case at the INDO EXPO cannabis trade show
Rick T. Wilking / Getty Images

The business hopes to open in West Hollywood within a couple of months.

The city of West Hollywood, California, has approved the United States’ first-ever cannabis café, Los Angeles’ WABC-TV reports.

Over the past decade or so, 11 states (Illinois being the most recent) have approved recreational marijuana, or cannabis, sale and use, and several more have approved it for medical use. Although those states have been willing to legalize its cultivation and sale, they’ve been less proactive in approving its use in public. In general, most state and municipality cannabis laws are pretty clear: don’t smoke it (or vaporize it) in public.

But West Hollywood has decided that it’s time to copy Amsterdam’s policy and allow cannabis to be consumed in certain public spaces (although to be fair, The Netherlands tolerates cannabis use, but it’s not specifically legal). The city’s Business License Commission approved a license for Lowell Café, where consumers will be able to openly smoke cannabis — outside and in an enclosed area, that is. California law still forbids smoking cannabis, tobacco, or anything else indoors. What’s more, the enclosure will not be within view of the street.

Lowell Café’s menu is expected, as of this writing, to include items with THC, CBD (a cannabis derivative that does not produce a “high” in the user), or both. Patrons will be able to purchase items to smoke, vaporize, or eat. And on the subject of eating, the business will also have a menu of food options, although what will be on it remains unclear, as of this writing.

One thing that won’t be on the menu, however, is alcoholic drinks. California law expressly forbids alcohol and cannabis being sold in the same place.

Lowell Café doesn’t have an official opening date, as of this writing, but owners hope to have it up and running within the next few months.

Not everyone in West Hollywood is excited about having a cannabis café in town, however. As Los Angeles Eater reports, Kol Ami, the rabbi of a synagogue across the street from the proposed business, is concerned about worshipers, particularly families with young children, having to walk through clouds of cannabis smoke on their way to Temple on Friday nights.

“I don’t know why my congregation members and participants have to walk through clouds of marijuana to get to synagogue…It will limit the use of our outdoor space as well because of the contact high from the smoke that will waft in the area,” he said.

Unfortunately for Ami, however, the West Hollywood City Council approved the license over his objections.