!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics --> Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2020 102 customers cannot use alcohol or tobacco on site. But the cafe can offer customers marijuana flower, pre-rolls, edibles and concentrates. Bongs and vaporizers also are available for customers to use. “Our lobbying efforts for the city started over two years ago,” Elias said. “We’re excited about taking one step closer toward the end of cannabis prohibition, and we envision a world where cannabis consumption … becomes more prevalent and accepted in society.” Building the Right Crew The team behind Lowell Herb Co. did not have a background in the restaurant industry. Since 2017, the company established itself as one of the top pre-roll sellers in California; Lowell products are sold in 350 stores. To head up the cafe concept, Lowell brought on Drummer as executive chef. Drummer trained at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California, and has built a reputation as a cannabis chef since 2012. At Cannabis Cafe, Drummer doesn’t infuse the food she’s preparing with marijuana, but the vegan nachos, pulled pork sandwich and other menu items are designed to pair well with cannabis. Drummer and Lowell partnered with Mark and Jonnie Houston to help with the vibe of the cafe. The twin brothers run Houston Hospitality, which operates high-end, nightlife hot spots in Los Angeles. The cafe’s aim was to create a welcoming space for both cannabis connoisseurs and the canna-curious. The cafe has 710 concentrates on the menu and GPen Connects available for dabbing. “Flower Hosts” are on staff for consumers who want to learn more about cannabis and what products might be right for them. “The team hired a staff that’s passionate about being part of the first cannabis restaurant in America,” Elias said. “We have talented flower and food servers who are experienced in their respective backgrounds.” Diversifying the Brand Before its legal difficulties, the Lowell Herb Co. name had gained traction in California. Elias envisioned moving the company from a regional to national—or possibly international—brand. Launching the cafe concept helped that effort, with major outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes and Vogue sharing the news about the “first cannabis restaurant” and the team behind the concept. Lowell announced a funding round last August with support from celebrity investors Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. The company said it was launching new products and gearing up for its national expansion plans for 2020. In December, the company announced plans to expand to Nevada. Elias declined to share any financials. But an Oct. 3 filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for Lowell’s parent, The Hacienda, shows $22 million raised as part of a $26 million funding round. The minimum investment accepted from any outside investor was listed as $10 million. Looking ahead, it’s unclear what the future will bring for Lowell Herb Co. But the company’s groundbreaking efforts to launch a cannabis cafe could serve as a template for other businesses looking to get into the on-site consumption space. Moreover, Lowell hasn’t abandoned the concept. “It is definitely part of our strategy to explore innovative ways to connect with our customers,” Lacey Trejo, a public-relations specialist wrote in an email on behalf of Lowell. “We are currently looking into new markets that would be a fit for our innovative cafe concept.” Executive Chef and partner Andrea Drummer designed the cafe menu to pair well with cannabis. Courtesy Photo BusinessStrategies | Retail