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LA’s First Cannabis Restaurant Had to Split Into Two Businesses to Comply With State Law

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe – Courtesy of Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe

There’s a serious buzz around Southern California’s first cannabis restaurant, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe. The restaurant/cannabis consumption lounge’s opening date is scheduled for September 24, and online reservations for Lowell’s first 30 days sold out within three hours. But the opening presented some legal challenges, and Lowell’s owners found themselves in an odd position. In order to comply with state law, they had to split Lowell Farms into two separates businesses: a restaurant and cannabis retail establishment.

Current regulations in California don’t allow cannabis consumption lounges to sell food or beverages on the premises. That leaves Lowell Farms and the seven other businesses that secured cannabis consumption lounge licenses in West Hollywood with an awkward dilemma. The licenses specifically allow smoking and vaping, but not direct sales of cannabis-infused food or drinks, which takes away a potentially significant income-generator.

Lowell Farms needed a way to sell prepared food and drinks to customers who were partaking in smoking or vaping cannabis. So Lowell did what any enterprising business would do, performing creative workarounds to stay within the law.

Customers likely won’t even notice Lowell’s dual business model, minus a few details. Lowell’s team simply shifted operations and re-zoned the business to appeal to smokers and non-smokers alike. The entire space now has three different sections on a 20,000 square foot lot, which includes:

  • A 1,600 square-foot cafe where diners cannot consume cannabis, but can order food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • A 2,500 square-foot indoor lounge that allows cannabis smoking, vaping, and edible consumption.
  • An 1,800 square-foot outdoor garden where cannabis edibles, vaping and smoking cannabis are allowed.

The City of West Hollywood’s community and legislative affairs manager, John Leonard, spoke about how the new cannabis consumption lounge developed solutions.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Mona Holmes on Eater LA

Published: September 11, 2019

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