A cannabis cafe opened in West Hollywood, signaling the increasing normalization of the drug even while the stigma remains.

WHAT HAPPENED: Lowell Farms Cafe is a hybrid dispensary and restaurant, the first of its kind to open in the U.S.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Lowell Cafe proves that that weed is becoming more socially acceptable but not every country shares Los Angeles’ stance on the substance. California has the largest legal marijuana market in the world. But since the substance was only legalized two years ago, its black market continues to grow, which remains even bigger than the legal market. Due to high taxes and various cities denying licensed weed operators the right to set up shop, many people still find it easier to buy marijuana from illicit sources. Establishing a strong legal market will take time but complex and inconsistent laws are prohibiting the market from thriving legally. It will take more than just high tax revenues to change the mind of lawmakers who can sort this out.
  • Being the first establishment of its kind could help Lowell’s Cafe develop mainstream recognition. There are currently more than 10,000 licensed cannabis operators in California, as there is no denying that the marijuana market, both legal and illegal, is lucrative. But few brands own the space, with Med Men’s high-tech approach being the most well-known. The relaxed and personalized nature of Lowell’s Cafe, however, promotes normalization of the substance. If Lowell Cafe is successful it could help alter government regulations, making it easier for similar businesses to open in California and other more progressive states.