Inside Lowell Cafe Wonho Frank Lee
The company behind the nation’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge is facing two state lawsuits
This month, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against Lowell Herb Co., along with its CEO David Elias, and co-owner Brett Myers Vapnek, for allegedly engaging “in commercial cannabis activity without a license.” The new suit raises questions about the group’s future, as well as its past contributions to the Original Cannabis Cafe, the first nationally-recognized cannabis consumption restaurant that opened in October in West Hollywood.
Becerra’s accusation against the company that originally launched the nation’s first cannabis restaurant could have wider implications for the emerging hospitality field in the future, but in the immediate there is one big question being asked: Did Lowell Herb Co. change the name of the restaurant (it was formerly called Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Restaurant) to the Original Cannabis Cafe on December 1 in order to prepare for the lawsuit? Eater reached out to Lowell Herb Co., but has not heard back.
Some background on the project: Original Cannabis Cafe debuted on October 1 to national fanfare, particularly within cannabis legalization circles. Patrons lined up for hours for an opportunity to eat chef Andrea Drummer’s non-cannabis food menu, all while smoking cannabis in the consumption lounge area of the same property. The place has been a hit ever since, even as Lowell Herb Co. decided to swap names and announce plans to open other projects in Nevada, instead.