Culture

America’s First Marijuana Cafe Opened In LA And The Reviews Are Sky High

This week, West Hollywood’s first Cannabis Café opened up for business. Marijuana retail giant, Lowell Farms, is opening up it’s doors in WeHo as a restaurant and bar, slash lounge, and shop, that offers the country’s first “farm-to-table experience for both cuisine and cannabis”. 

Unfortunately, none of the food will be infused with cannabis —but you’ll be able to smoke it or vape it.

LowellCafe / Instagram

There won’t be any cannabis in the actual food, because state laws prohibit the sale of food infused with cannabis. Instead, the dishes on the menu will complement the various strains of cannabis that will be for sale. You’ll be able to smoke your weed or vape it, and mix it with the food on the menu, kind of like you pair food with wine. Lowell Farms is a functional restaurant with servers and a special air-filtration system that sucks up and filters the smoke from the weed people will be smoking everywhere. 

Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by a “budtender”, who will be your cannabis guide.

Leafly

The budtender will help you on your cannabis experience and will help personalize your order. Additionally you will also have a server who will get your food and nonalcoholic beverages—there’s no booze for sale because of state laws. The menu has all the classic café offerings; salads, sandwiches, avocado toast, mac n cheese bites and vegan nachos to name a few options. Chef Andrea Drummer was inspired by the different flavor profiles in the strains of cannabis, so each dish will be accompanied by a suggested product to smoke or vape.

According to the LA Times, the opening menu includes “miso-glazed pork belly, jalapeño mac and cheese bites, vegan nachos, sticky tamarind wings, house-made pickles and avocado and white bean hummus.”

The cannabis menu though, is much more extensive. 

LowellCafe / Instagram

Restaurant director Kevin Brady compared the cannabis menu with a wine list, in that all products are seasonal and rich in their own way. Most of them will be supplied by the Lowell Farms organic cannabis farm in Santa Barbara—the parent company behind the restaurant, and they’re not cheap. A single-strain pre-roll can set you back between $18 and $30. And if you’re looking for something a little stronger, there’s also a “Dab Bar” which is essentially where you’ll find stronger weed for the experienced consumer.

The Do’s and Don’ts at Lowell Farms Café.

LowellCafe / Instagram

West Hollywood created eight cannabis consumption licenses. And according to the restaurant, Lowell Farms was granted the very first one —out of more than 300 applicants. Which makes this restaurant, the first business of its kind in the U.S. and as such, there are a few new rules set in place to keep things running smoothly. The café will be open until 2am with a last call for cannabis at 9:50pm —unless pre-ordered and pre-paid, in which case you’ll be able to enjoy your purchases until close. The space is 21 and older, and you’ll need to bring a drivers license, passport or valid ID if you plan on purchasing any weed. Oh, and payment for cannabis will only be accepted in cash —though you can pay for food and drink with credit or debit cards. You may smoke and vape both inside the dining room and the patio but not on any front-facing outdoor area. 

You’ll be able to smoke or consume edibles you bring from your own personal collection for a small “tokage” fee, similar to a corkage fee, of $40. Taking unfinished cannabis products home is not allowed, but you can take your food leftovers though. You can either bring your own bongs or pipes, or you can rent one from the restaurant. And you’ll be able drink beer or wine only on the front patio —once the restaurant secures a license.

If you want to take some products home, there’s even a little shop.

LowellCafe / Instagram

Resembling a dispensary area that will offer edibles, vapes, concentrates and buds. Another great thing about this café is that Lowell’s has made a policy of hiring people who have served time for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes (as advertised on a billboard on the side of the freeway: “Pot Offenders Wanted“). 

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe opens on October 1 at 1201 N La Brea Ave, with hours of 10am-2am daily.

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Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Pledges That, If Elected, She and Joe Biden Would Decriminalize Marijuana Use

On Monday, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris vowed that a Biden-Harris administration would “decriminalize” the use of marijuana.

“Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said during a Facebook Live virtual round-table.

“We need to deal with the system, and there needs to be significant change in the design of the system,” she continued.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a boon for cannabis-rights activists who have long said that marijuana’s potential health risks “pale in comparison” to the harm that criminalization has done to communities of color in America.

We’ve known for a while that the U.S.’s drug policies disproportionately affect people of color. While the stats suggest that Americans across all demographics use marijuana at roughly the same rate, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be arrested and charged for possession.

For example, in New York City in 2017, the NYPD arrested 17,000 people for marijuana-related offenses. 86% of those were Black or Latino.

via Getty Images

Historically, politicians on both the left and the right haven’t done much to fix this disparity. Although both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the largely ineffective “War On Drugs” policies of the ’90s that left a large number of people of color incarcerated, the Dems have recently changed their tune.

In the ’90s, there was an erroneous belief that marijuana was a “gateway” drug to harder, more destructive drugs, like crack-cocaine. Cracking down on marijuana possession was seen as a preventative tactic to keep people from trying crack.

The decriminalization of marijuana would be a marked change for Biden in particular who has held quite stringent anti-marijuana positions throughout his career.

“The school of thought was that we had to do everything we could to dissuade the use of crack cocaine,” Biden said in 2008 Senate hearing. “And so I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then.”

This falls in line with what Senator Harris’s policy stances have been of late. She recently spear-headed a bill called the MORE Act that, if passed according to Politico, would “remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records”.

It’s worth noting that there is a marked distinction between the decriminalization of marijuana vs its legalization.

via Getty Images

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption”. In essence, a marijuana-related offense would be treated similarly to a traffic violation.

Legalization, on the other hand, would mean a federal policy that “supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source.”

Whether it’s decriminalization or legalization, one thing’s for sure: the data shows that hyper-punitive laws towards cannabis possession has done the American people more harm than good. Especially in communities of color.

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Taco Bell Just Dumped The Mexican Pizza And Twitter Says Burn It All Down

Culture

Taco Bell Just Dumped The Mexican Pizza And Twitter Says Burn It All Down

Joe Raedle / Getty

Updated September 4, 2020.

Heads up! If you’ve been a steadfast lover of Taco Bell menu classics, know that the fast-food chain is taking five more items off of its menu. Earlier this summer the Bell overhauled its menu by eliminating items such as the Spicy Potato Soft Taco or Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.

Now it’s coming for your beloved Mexican Pizza.

In a heartbreaking announcement, the fast-food restaurant revealed that they will officially be eighty-sixing the popular menu item come this November.

Taco Bell announced its intentions to “simplify” its menu by putting 11 of its items into retirement earlier this summer.

“This evolved menu approach comes after months of analyzing the new way we are running our restaurants,” the company said in a statement. “We want to ensure an easy and fast ordering experience for our guests and team members.” As of August 13, Taco Bell fans were no longer be able to order the Grilled Steak Soft Taco, 7-Layer Burrito, Nachos Supreme, Beefy Fritos Burrito, Spicy Tostada, Triple Layer Nachos, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Loaded Grillers (Cheesy Potato, Beefy Nacho), Chips & Dips and the Mini Skillet Bowl.

The Quesarito remains on the menu but will not be featured on the boards. Customers can order the item digitally through the Taco Bell website or app.

According to the statement, it appears the changes are part of a strategy in responding to COVID -19 and its effects on the chain’s employees and customers. “Since the start of COVID, we’ve made changes at the restaurant level with the safety of our Team Members and guests as our top priority, but we didn’t just stop there. Our new normal has also transformed the way we look at innovation and product testing at our global headquarters. What was once an ‘all hands on deck’ approach in our famous test kitchen has switched to virtual brainstorms and kitchen simulations. Our teams have shifted from in-person focus groups to contactless drive-thru tastings. We’ve learned to adapt to ensure Taco Bell’s long history of innovation never stops.”

Now, they’re doing away with the Mexican Pizza.

Starting on November 5, Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza will no longer be on the menu. While Taco Bell assured fans on Thursday that the Mexican Pizza will be the last removal this year and that the departures will “make room for new innovations,” fans aren’t tickled.

“First they came for the potatoes and I didn’t say anything because I was a potato Then they came for the lava sauce and I said nothing because I was not a lava sauce Then they came for mexican pizza and there was no one left to speak for me,” one user wrote on Twitter in response to the news.

“I swear i think they know people like it so m uch they are taking it away to get publicity i say don’t give it to them though mexican pizza from tb got me through some tough days LOL,” another wrote.

Fortunately, while Taco Bell is canceling items on its menu, they’re also adding to it.

Taco Bell announced that its new menu changes will include the addition of two new items. Taco Bell lovers can look forward to the addition of the $5 Grande Nachos Box: a concoction made up of layers of beef, refried beans, a cheese sauce, a three-cheese blend, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream piled high onto a bed of tortilla chips. Taco Bell’s $1 Beef Burrito will also grace the menu as a permanent addition to the Cravings Value Menu.

As heartbreaking as saying goodbye to those Loaded Grillers may be, Taco Bell assures that the simplified menu will mean “a more efficient Taco Bell experience” and “will leave room for new fan favorites, continued progress in categories such as plant-based diets, and even opportunities for the return of some classics on a limited-time basis.”

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