West Hollywood has long been a hotbed for
putting progressive ideas into practice…and law. WeHo was the first city in
America to ban the sale of fur—many other cities and states have since followed
suit. Over 20 years ago, WeHo was the first city in the country to open a
medical marijuana dispensary. And as of 2018, it became the first city in the
US to develop and distribute cannabis consumption licenses. Only one
consumption business has opened so far, and it’s proving to be a resounding
success: the Original Cannabis Cafe.

For many, Cannabis Cafe is a novelty place to
visit, or a go-to spot to meet up with friends. But for the industry, it’s a
salient milestone in the progression of legal recreational cannabis use.
Whatever your motivation or interest may be, Cannabis Cafe is worth a visit.

The
restaurant looks, well, just like any other trendy restaurant.

While some may envision a cannabis consumption
venue as a dim-lit room with couches filled with people hitting bongs, decked
out with lava lights and black light posters, Cannabis Cafe if a far cry; it
looks like any trendy restaurant you will find in LA. It boasts modern, rustic
decor and an indoor space that transitions seamlessly to an outdoor seating
area. Large light-strung trees mingle amongst the tables and comfortable booth
seating lines the outside ivy-laden wall. 

There is also a bar seating area right in
between the indoor/outdoor transition where you’ll have full access to both the
food and cannabis menu; a fun seat to converse with the bar “budtender” and
other guests. 

West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Entrance

The
food served at Cannabis Cafe is NOT mixed with any cannabis.

Many hear the name “Cannabis Cafe” or the
words “cannabis restaurant” and the first thing that comes to mind is infused
food. No, no, no. Think of their cannabis menu like a wine menu; it’s
completely separate from your food. At your table, upon being seated, you will
be served a food menu and a separate the cannabis menu.

No,
it’s not a hotbox situation inside.

You might be pleasantly surprised by the airiness
of the restaurant, especially considering there are people puffing joints left
and right. This is thanks in part to a casino-grade air filtration system that
doesn’t allow the smoke to linger. In fact, while there is certainly a marijuana
smell, it is faint. So even if you’re bothered by the smell or presence of marijuana
smoke, it’s not invasive, so you’ll be just fine.

West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Interior

The
cannabis menu is extensive; study in advance.

From pre-rolls, to flower (served with a
grinder and papers), to edibles, the menu of cannabis goodies to choose from is
over 10 pages long. They carry a number of brands from local companies and ones
from around the US; the cannabis flower menu is hand curated by Red Rodriguez,
the Cafe’s director of vendor relations. Everything comes packaged and sealed,
so you can trust what you are getting is authentic and tested. They also carry
infused drinks and sweet treats that come with a lighthearted reminder on the
menu: “Delayed onset. Incredibly long lasting.”

BYOC is
allowed…and other Do’s and Don’ts to know.

There are a number of do’s and don’ts of
the restaurant you should know. You are allowed to bring your own cannabis
items in from home, but note a $30 per-person “tokage” fee—like a familiar wine
corkage fee—applies. You can bring your own non-glass bong or pipe to smoke out
of, or you can rent one from the restaurant.

You cannot smoke any tobacco products,
including using blunt papers to roll. You must be 21 years of age or older, and
you MUST have ID to enter the cafe. And similar to a dispensary, it is checked
outside before you enter the premise.

You don’t have to make reservations in
advance; they allow some walk-ins, but to be safe, make a reservation. You can
only sit at your table for 1.5 hours (and they will kindly remind you to leave
or move to the bar when your time is up).

West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Bar Area

The
food menu has a munchie-satisfying assortment, including vegetarian and vegan
options.

Just remember, you are not here for a 5-star
culinary experience, and while some items can be improved upon, especially for
the high-ish price point ($20 for nachos for example), the food is decent. Try
the vegan nachos, perfect to hit the spot for a craving and share with your
group. People also like the burgers (and there are a number of preparations to
choose from, including a vegan Impossible Burger options.) The Hot Chicken
Fingers and Chicken (or Cauliflower) Wings are also a favorite. 

West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Food

The
crowd is mixed, diverse and friendly.

From the outside, Cannabis Cafe looks like any
other hotspot restaurant or bar. It’s filled mostly with 20 and 30-somethings,
and you won’t find any monoculture here; the crowd is diverse, pleasantly
reflective of the breadth of the modern-day cannabis consumers. Upon sitting,
and maybe interacting with your table neighbor, there is a natural sense of
comradery.

No matter if you’re 25 or 75 (yes, some people
do bring their grandparents), everyone has a shared appreciation and can’t help
but bond over the mutual feeling of “wow, I don’t think I would have ever
imagined this.” 

Alcohol
is served, only on the outdoor patio.

This might be a deal breaker for groups
wanting to attend since while you might want to buy some flower and roll up a
joint; your date wants to sip on a glass of wine at the table. But for now, the
law does not permit alcohol and marijuana sold or consumed in the same venue. So,
Cannabis Cafe has a separate outdoor patio with a beer and wine menu where you
can drink.

West Hollywood Cannabis Cafe Patio

What
about the City’s other consumption licenses?

Other West Hollywood businesses are in the
process of opening their consumption establishments. Of the permitted eight
on-site consumption businesses for smoking, vaping, and ingesting, Cannabis
Cafe has been the only one to open so far. WeHo also separately permitted eight
on-site consumption businesses for edible ingestion only; a number of those
businesses are slated to open in 2020. For now, Cannabis Cafe is making history
and helping to normalize cannabis consumption while the progressive city of
West Hollywood once again proves it continues to export culture, ideas and
laws.



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