The last couple of years have shown many major ups and downs for cannabis producers and consumers alike in California – on one hand, recreational legalization has made flower and many other THC products much more accessible, at the expense of high taxes. For producers and other manufacturers, new lab testing requirements can be a nightmare leading to many products discarded from shelves.
Here’s a major upside for 2019 and beyond: the city of West Hollywood announced upcoming cannabis restaurants, cafes, and consumption lounges.
Envision the Amsterdam tradition with the LA vibe.
Over the last 8 months, over 300 applicants have spent tons of hours and resources to get the coveted green light from the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. As of now, there are only 9 total “consumption lounges” in the United States – 8 in the Bay Area and one in Denver. Beginning next year, though, we can expect a wide variety of creative lounge environments, shops, cafes and restaurants on the west side.
According to Eater Los Angeles, there are 5 different license categories:
- Edible-only consumption cafes
- Consumption lounges that allow smoking, vaping, and edibles
- Medical dispensary services
- Adult-use retail
- Cannabis delivery
There will be 8 licenses issued per category. Some businesses will be using multiple licenses in separate categories, so we will have to wait for more publicly released news to see exactly what’s coming.
Based on the current news, it seems like there are only positives from this development. A major area already known for entertainment and fine dining will add another dimension to daytime and nightlife activities, give expert chefs a lot more freedom, and give us way better cafes to choose from than Starbucks. Much needed change that we can all agree on.
I’m just speculating here, but another possibility is that the necessity of quality sourced flower and extracts will reinforce the same standards for organic and locally sourced ingredients for other aspects of food and beverages at these consumption lounges. Most likely that will be a given due to all of this starting in West Hollywood, but still important to think about. It’s all related for sure.
We can expect a ripple effect into other parts of LA county and other parts of the state after the first few years of this new local trend, and it would be wise for all of the other legal recreational states to follow suit. In WeHo alone, these new business will add more job opportunities for cultivars and food and beverage industry workers alike, while also raising the bar for up-and-coming chefs, coffee experts, and even interior designers who want to make a long-lasting statement by creating the new atmospheres that will be pioneering this new era. I can’t wait for more official news from each business. I have my fingers crossed for a sushi-based restaurant above all else, and I’m looking forward to new places to socialize around the greater common interest as well. Also hope the current regulations allow for something where I can bring my dog.