Cannabis lounges bloom in WeHo, and not everyone is happy

An amendment to California’s cannabis bill could let the growing number of pot lounges, including those in LA, sell non-cannabis food and possibly alcohol

Sep.September 04, 2019 03:06 PM
Richard Bloom and a rendering of Lowell Farms Cannabis Cafe (Credit: Lowell Farms, iStock)
Richard Bloom and a rendering of Lowell Farms Cannabis Cafe (Credit: Lowell Farms, iStock)

In a few weeks, Lowell Cafe will open its doors in West Hollywood, claiming to be the nation’s first cannabis consumption lounge. Patrons will be able to eat cannabis-infused delicacies, as well as smoke and vape as they please.

Its menu could also eventually extend to non-cannabis food and alcohol, thanks to an amendment to a state bill under consideration in Sacramento. Those efforts to alter AB 1465 — the law that authorized cannabis lounges — to allow for non-cannabis food and beverages are being opposed by a power labor union, according to WeHoville.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union claims cannabis lounges shouldn’t be allowed to serve non-cannabis food and beverages, and that Los Angeles won’t be able to agree on the matter “on the designated timeline.”

The amendment, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, is currently in committee. Lawmakers will have until Sept. 13 to vote on the issue.

Lowell Cafe, which is one of the few businesses that secured onsite consumption licenses in December, is opening an adjacent cafe that will serve non-cannabis sandwiches, coffee and other items.

As recreational cannabis use grows, cities, particularly L.A., are finding it more difficult to crack down on the increasing number of illegal pot shops. Earlier this summer, a cannabis industry group sent a letter to L.A. leaders, urging them to raid unlicensed shops. And earlier this year, the city’s top cannabis regulator said L.A. should should start enforcing the laws it has on the books.  [Wehoville]Natalie Hoberman

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