A Significant Milestone
Cannabis enthusiasts across the U.S believe the milestone to be a significant one as cannabis prohibition across the U.S begins to fade with more than half the country legalising the plant in one form or another over the last decade.
“Cannabis consumers have had to kind of be closeted,” the cafe’s executive chef, Andrea Drummer told the Guardian.
“To be able to engage in and consume in a space with like-minded people and not have it be secret and not feel judged, I think it’s an exceptional concept.”
With the opening of a restaurant that highlights cuisine AND cannabis, marijuana entrepreneurs are increasingly optimistic that the opening of the Lowell cafe will prove to be a significant milestone in the crusade for full cannabis legality.
“This is a really, really big moment,” said Jackie Subeck, a local cannabis consultant and advocate “This doesn’t exist anywhere … We’re building the plane while flying it.”
For recreational cannabis consumers as well as the “canna-curious”, this exciting cafe or cannabis restaurant presents a new space where people can get together to enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a delightful smoke. With the end of cannabis prohibition in full force in California, the owners managed to secure a cannabis consumption license for both food and cannabis consumption at a single location.
While the opening of a marijuana cafe in the united states does represent a significant milestone in cannabis quest for full legality, the plant itself remains illegal in many states and federally illegal in ALL states.
Americans Still Being Arrested for Cannabis
California was one of the first U.S states to accept cannabis, legalising the plant for medical use in the ́90s and recreationally in 2016. However, Californian residents are not allowed to smoke in a public place. While there are some lounges and clubs that allow cannabis users to consume the plant, this is the first instance of food and cannabis being offered on the same menu in a U.S restaurant.
Cannabis legality has certainly become something of a cause celebre in the U.S, and despite its increased availability in recent years, it remains a disturbing fact that in the U.S, more than one person is arrested for cannabis every minute of every day.
This is an inexcusable and unjust reality that must end.
Despite all of the wonderful advancements in the cannabis industry, increased legality and the reduction of cannabis stigma. It is still an obvious misnomer to describe the plant as being legal in the United States.
According to the Washington Post, there are about 2.3 million Americans currently serving time in prison for cannabis-related convictions, with around 47.5% of those people being held for drug possession at the federal level. These convictions were made at a time when more than half of the country had decriminalised or legalised marijuana. Between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8.2 million marijuana arrests made across the United States, costing the country $3.6 billion every year to enforce their arbitrary cannabis laws.
Clearly, there is a gross sense of injustice when it is entirely possible for one American citizen to have the opportunity to order a selection of cannabis from a menu, while another is ordered to jail — all for the consumption of a plant with highly vaunted medical properties.
Even in so-called progressive states like California, the cannabis industry is dominated by white entrepreneurs and has continued to exclude communities that suffer from the continued criminalisation of recreational cannabis and the so-called war on drugs. Unfortunately, is is overwhelmingly apparent that there is still a large section of society that continues to suffer from the criminalisation of marijuana. As with many societal issues in the U.S, racial lines are still being drawn that discriminate against minorities.
Cannabis – Looking Forward to a Brighter Future
Sean Black, a co-founder of Lowell Herb Co, (the company behind the cafe) explained his sense of injustice regarding the current laws that govern cannabis usage across the country.
“There is nothing that will make up for the wrongs that were done,” he said. “There are people in other states who are in jail while we are serving fancy meals. It’s inherently unfair.”
However, with the opening of the Lowell Cafe, Black hopes that Lowell Farms cafe will help to tackle some of the remaining stigmas around cannabis consumption:
“We want it to have the same respect as fine wine … Cannabis can be a fun recreational part of society, like alcohol, without being dangerous.”
In 2019, recreational cannabis has been legalised in nearly a dozen states with 65% of Americans now agreeing that the plant should be fully legalised across the country.
Thanks to pioneers like the Lowell Cafe, more opportunities for other cafes and restaurants to allow cannabis on their menus are expected to arrive in the near future. For much of the U.S, and particularly in places like Los Angeles, cannabis stigma continues to fade as the plant enters a new era of legality, prosperity and availability. However, despite all of the positivity surrounding cannabis move to the mainstream, it is clear that much work remains for marijuana advocates to move the plant into a position of complete legality and unfettered usage.
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