WeHo Radically Mainstreams Cannabis Consumption with Lounges and Restaurants
City Leaders Envision Buzzy Entertainment Enclave Popular with Locals and Tourists Becoming the State’s Legal Cannabis Destination
By Ed Murrieta
WEST HOLLYWOOD — Viewed from Google maps, this buzzy enclave fits like a jagged-edged puzzle piece abutting three other famous Southern California cities: Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.
Viewed, smelled and tasted from street-level, West Hollywood fits your imaginary movie images of American Amsterdam.
Nearby Venice may have been up for the part with its picturesque canals and picaresque dispensaries, but West Hollywood, historically friendly to vice and alternative lifestyles, earns today’s leading role in mainstreaming cannabis culture and commerce.
Comprising just 1.8 square miles of Los Angeles County land, West Hollywood is home to 34,000 people and 40 approved cannabis businesses serving consumers, from delivery services to dispensaries to lounges to the world’s first licensed and regulated restaurant serving food and cannabis.
My story will report on the opening of that cannabis restaurant, Lowell Cafe, from the perspective of a restaurant critic-turned-cannabis journalist; survey upcoming lounges and restaurants (three are expected to open in early 2020); and interview noted cannabis chefs, a cannabis regulator and cannabis tourism entrepreneurs about cannabis culture and commerce in a city serving locals and tourists on some of the most famous streets in the United States, including the Sunset Strip.
For context, I’ll note West Hollywood cannabis businesses’ proximity to landmarks like Chateau Marmot and The Comedy Store (and PleasureMeds’ next-door-neighbor proximity to West Hollywood sex-toy store The Pleasure Chest), and I’ll report on bordering high-profile cannabis destinations like Sherbinskis on Fairfax in Los Angeles, Cookies on Melrose in Los Angeles and MedMen in Beverly Hills.