Lowell Cafe is officially opening at the start of September, and I for one am oh so excited. I’m already planning to have my birthday party there in December, even though no consumer has yet to set foot inside- that’s how sure I am that this is a good idea! Finally, a place for the cannabis inclined to socialize and have a night out, where the bar isn’t alcoholic, but jars of weed! My Amsterdam fantasy is coming to life, and it’s only taken nearly 2 years since California’s recreational legalization for a bright-eyed company to make this happen. Of course, with any step in progress toward regulation instead of prohibition of cannabis, there come many naysayers and concerned critics.
The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce meeting that granted Lowell Café its business license was met with excitement at the prospect of a regulated consumption environment- and an upset religious community member. Rabbi Denise Eger leads the Congregation Kol Ami, located across the street from the café. She specifically expressed concern about just the smell of cannabis being present in the synagogue, and according to the LA Times, additionally emailed to complain about “clouds of marijuana” in the path to the synagogue from Lowell’s outdoor smoking patio. The co-owner of Lowell Herb Co., Sean Black, believes the air filtration system will do its job in keeping the cannabis clouds strictly on its premises- and actively wants to shape a positive relationship with the café’s neighbors.
Additionally, the cannabis bar isn’t even supposed to open at 9pm, which still makes the rules a little unclear about the hours of smoke-allowance will be earlier than that (I hope), but even if they aren’t, does it not seem reasonable to allow marijuana smoke after 9pm? I personally feel like the streets of WeHo after a certain time are mostly dominated by weed smoke and alcohol, so I feel like the critique is generally unwarranted at this point. The café doesn’t even have permanence at this point- it will be closely monitored over the next year under its temporary license so that the community can decide if it wants to keep the business open. Being the first of its kind, the cannabis café knows it has to do well in most senses to procure residency.
This experiment into legal, mainstream, publicly- allowed cannabis establishments is expected to set a precedent of which many more businesses will follow. Pleasure Chest, the adult toy and accessory store in WeHo, has also been granted a license to sell cannabis, deliver, and plans to host a lounge area.
It is up to these new and future businesses to pave the way for creating a culture where cannabis is as normalized as alcohol. Personally, it seems really unfair that a drug that creates far more problems than cannabis is hardly taken issue with, but the stigma attached to marijuana makes it an easy target for moral complaints. I salute these ventures, and am incredibly excited to patronize them responsibly.