(TMU) — In a clear sign of the post-prohibition times we live in, the first-ever cannabis café in the United States opened Tuesday to the eager cannabis connoisseurs of Los Angeles, California.
Located in West Hollywood, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, is the first farm-to-table restaurant and lounge exclusively devoted to highlighting cannabis cuisine. Long the talk of bud consumers across Southern California, Lowell Farms’ owners and head chefs hope to forever change how we think of marijuana consumption.
On its website, Lowell Cafe announces:
“PROHIBITION IS OVER!
For over a century we’ve been forced to hide cannabis consumption out of public view, but that time is now over. We’re proud to announce Lowell Cafe – America’s first cannabis cafe serving farm fresh food, coffee, juice, and cannabis daily. Sit on our patio, order a meal, have a conversation and experience cannabis together.”
General Manager Lily Estanislao told KABC-7 news:
“We wanted to break the stigma against cannabis so we wanted to create an environment where people could comfortably consume and also enjoy a really fantastic meal.”
The restaurant resembles less a “college, Dave Matthews Band kind of vibe” and instead is an “elegant place,” restaurant director Kevin Brady told the Guardian. The director has been hard at work creating a verdant, “light, bright airy oasis of a space that people can consume cannabis” free of the stereotypical stoner accouterments one might expect—such as black lights, lava lamps, beanbag chairs, and Led Zeppelin posters.
The café told CNN that “in harmony with the West Hollywood community, the restaurant will offer a first-of-its-kind nightlife experience,” complete with what they are calling “tableside flower service.”
Those entering the historic café will be immediately greeted by a Flower Host—similar to a sommelier—who will help patrons choose cannabis strains with the effect and flavor they most desire. The Flower Host can help roll joints and blunts as needed while also providing dab rigs and specialty bongs to guests.
The Flower Hosts are well aware that for first-time consumers, the array of choices can be daunting. One Flower Hosts, Bianca, explained:
“We always want to feel very approachable. I don’t want my knowledge by any means to make someone feel uncomfortable or uneducated.
I want to be able to have a conversation with them and hopefully they leave here feeling a little more secure about their personal relationship with cannabis.”
Diners can expect classic California cuisine that reflects the state’s diversity, as well as seasonal dishes that pair well with the effects of THC and CBD. Head chef Andrea Drummer, who was trained at LA’s Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, is famous for her cannabis-infused cuisine, which she has prepared for such high profile celebrities as Wiz Khalifa, Miguel, and Chelsea Handler. She was also featured in the Netflix original series Cooking On High.
Drummer, who hails from the South, told the Guardian that the offerings will include healthy dishes like kale salad alongside comfort foods “that one would love to indulge in, if they are elevated.” This will include mac and cheese bites, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken, and a “sweet FL(HIGH)T” desert platter that will showcase s’mores, bacon, an ice cream sandwich, and caramel popcorn.
“Food and cannabis are both very communal experiences, so to bring them together … is still very fascinating for me.”
Due to current cannabis laws in the state, however, the restaurant won’t be able to prepare in-house dishes infused with cannabis—although there will be abundant offerings of pre-packaged edibles such as gummies and chocolates that will be available to eat on site or to-go.
About 8 percent of employees of cannabis brand Lowell Herb Co., the company that owns the restaurant, have previous cannabis infractions on their record. This has helped guide co-founder Sean Black in hiring for the café. Black said:
“There is nothing that will make up for the wrongs that were done.
There are people in other states who are in jail while we are serving fancy meals. It’s inherently unfair.”
He hopes that the restaurant is successful in shifting popular perceptions of cannabis consumption, explaining:
“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.”
Tourists from across the country—and especially from states where recreational cannabis use remains illegal—will likely flock to the restaurant in hopes of enjoying the super-premium experience.
Lowell Café, which boasts a 5,900-square foot garden-like space and both a smoking and non-smoking patio, is only the first of eight cannabis cafes scheduled to open in West Hollywood. Many are hoping that the venture succeeds and can blaze a potentially worldwide trail for canna-businesses across the United States, if not the globe.
Local cannabis advocate and consultant Jackie Subeck, who will soon open her own cannabis spa and café in the city, said:
“This is a really, really big moment.
This doesn’t exist anywhere … We’re building the plane while flying it.”
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.