The city of West Hollywood has long been both a queer- and 420-friendly mecca. A municipality of 37,000 within Los Angeles county, West Hollywood led the way in welcoming dispensaries more than 20 years ago when California pioneered medical marijuana. Now, as regulators throughout legal states debate public cannabis consumption, West Hollywood has already gone ahead in granting sixten on-site consumption licenses. These licenses permit the consumption of cannabis-infused edibles, or of smoking, vaping, and edibles at on-site at lounges and restaurants.
Among the eight licensees for the edibles-only category is celebrity cannabis chef Jeff Danzer, aka Jeff The 420 Chef or “the Julia Child of weed.” His new cannabis lounge, aptly dubbed Budberry, is slated to open before the end of 2019.
“I'm very excited to be among the first chefs to open up a cannabis lounge in the United States,” Chef Danzer told Civilized. “Budberry is going to set the standard as the culinary segment within the cannabis industry grows.”
Described as a comfortable haven for both first-time and experienced users, Budberry will feature a fetching hot pink interior and easy, relaxed seating, meant to appear as a contemporary take on 1950’s-style diners. The space has also been designed with an open kitchen plan, offering curious (and likely stoned) onlookers a chance to see just how these feats (and feasts) of cannabis-infused magic are prepared.
During the day, Danzer and his team will offer lighter fare and snack-sized pastries like macaroons, donuts, infused coffees and sodas, while at night, there will be lounge fare and cannabis-infused beverages. California state law currently prohibits the consumption of both alcohol and cannabis on the same property, so for the time being Budberry will manage without alcohol and solely serve infused beverages with cannabis, only.
Chef Danzer, an out and proud gay working dad, reflects on what it means for him to be opening Budberry in West Hollywood.
“It’s a blessing to be opening this lounge here," he says. "I’m a gay father of three amazing kids, and West Hollywood has always served as a safe haven for me and my family… and for so many others like us.”
In fact, the cannabis movement and the LGBTQI+ movement have more in common than a safe space in West Hollywood. “A lot of people don’t know that the AIDS epidemic created a major catalyst for the push towards cannabis legalization," Danzer says. "The queer community has been, and still is, instrumental in making that happen. As an openly gay man, it’s very meaningful to me to be one of the first chefs to open a cannabis consumption lounge in West Hollywood, [which] is one of most important and vibrant LGBTQ communities in the world.”
Other licensees include Flore, better known as Lowell Herb Co., also set to open a rooftop cannabis cafe this summer with on-site smoking and vaping, as well. With the proliferation of these establishments, West Hollywood may soon step into its rightful role as the hub of "coffee shop" culture — once only accessible in places like Amsterdam.