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Budding Industry: Cannabis Cafe Opens In West Hollywood

WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Lowell Cafe, which is being called the nation's first cannabis cafe, is ready for its grand opening — and people are excited for the marijuana and food pairings the new West Hollywood restaurant boasts.

The restaurant's motto — eat, drink and smoke cannabis — encourages people to not only enjoy the fresh farm-to-table food and non-alcoholic beverages, but to also unwind with some marijuana.

"It's super exciting just knowing this is the nation's first cannabis cafe, and being a part of it is thrilling," Petra McElvenny, an early diner, said.

The grand opening is set for Tuesday, but a Monday night preview let some lucky diners experience a meal in the courtyard sprinkled with olive trees and a restaurant lined with an air filtration system.

McElvenny said she doesn't have to lie about her marijuana use at work and that dining at a place that encourages smoking while eating is just a reflection of how far recreational pot has come.

"I think it's part of getting rid of that stigma that negative stigma on marijuana as a whole," she said.

Lowell Cafe General Manager Lily Estanislao said that ultimately she wants to bring in people who can talk about pairing different strains of marijuana with the meals the way a sommelier would recommend wine pairings.

Staff at the cafe includes what they call a flower host, a person who helps with the pairing process, but they also focus on the effects marijuana use can have on people.

"A couple of questions we ask at first is: what's your tolerance level, and are you with someone safe or do you have a method to get home after," Erika Soto, a flower host, said.

McElvenny said she doesn't think the legalization of marijuana in states like California would have happened if there wasn't a shift in attitude in people like her own mom.

"When I had to hide from her, and sneak around and do it, it's almost like that relationship hits a wall," she said. "Now it's like, 'Yeah, we're open, and we have these honest conversations.' And it's fine."

Lowell Cafe is for diners 21 and older.


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