Do you want to open a cannabis cafe?
If you have ever thought about opening a cannabis café, read on for information about current legislation and existing precedents.
Are cannabis cafes legal in Illinois?
Are there any cannabis cafes open in the USA currently?
Yes. The first cannabis cafe, Cannabis Cafe, opened in California in October of 2019.
What are the regulations concerning cannabis cafes in the state of Illinois?
As of the November 2019 legislation, public smoking of cannabis will be restricted to cannabis lounges and dispensaries. On December 17, 2019 CBS 2 reporter Vince Gerasole facilitated a Reddit Ask Me Anything on Monday to answer questions about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois. The following is from CBS Chicago:
“Question: Do you think Illinois will see cannabis cafes soon? The bill allows municipalities to decide if they will allow cafes/bars in which cannabis can be consumed on the premises. Do you think any municipalities will allow such cafes, and is there an interest from cannabis companies to open and run them?
Neffer-Oduntunde Kerr: Because the city is going to allow dispensaries, a proposed idea has been to also allow and provide add-on consumption spaces connected to dispensaries for patrons. Especially since there will be individuals who legally will not be able to consume cannabis in their homes, but still have a right to use the product. Allowing consumption spaces will also increase revenue for the city.”
However, Chicago is facing a budget shortfall of one billion dollars. And, despite that the Illinois budget deficit has purportedly shrunk due to the sale of obligation bonds, it still runs to billions of dollars.
We think it is only a matter of time before Cannabis cafes will open for business in Illinois.
Will cannabis cafes be allowed to open in other states where consumption of recreational marijuana is legal?
Since there is no federal regulation in place, various states and localities will need to decide for themselves.
Currently California is leading the pack. Where else can we expect to see Cannabis cafes opening in the future?
- New Jersey
Nick Kovacevich, the CEO and cofounder of KushCo Holdings, Inc, the parent company of a group of business units that provide products and services to cannabis growers, extractors and retailers says:
‘But as cannabis becomes more widely used, consumers are going to want public places to consume it — just like alcohol…
Pretty soon, though, that won’t be enough. And we’re beginning to see legislators take action to put new rules into place that will allow true cannabis cafes — public spaces, much like bars, where people can buy and consume cannabis in a social setting.
How did A Cannabis Cafe work around the law?
Due to California laws, cannabis and the food must be paid for separately. The cafe’s owners partitioned the business into:
- a restaurant
- a cannabis retail establishment.
The outdoor cafe only serves food and beverages (including alcohol) but when you’re in the indoor restaurant and garden patio, you’re essentially ordering food from the adjacent restaurant.
So the waitstaff brings you food and non-cannabis drinks, and a flower host brings you the herb.
The food can be charged, the cannabis is paid for in cash.
Are cannabis or CBD oil infused drinks legal?
In states where recreational cannabis is legal, the use of CBD in food and drink has become increasingly common, despite state regulations that prohibit the addition of CBD products in food or drink.
Restaurant Hospitalty writes:
“Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive or dietary supplement,” California health officials said in a statement posted last year.
Enforcement, however, has been left to local health departments, leaving CBD-infused food and drink relatively easy to find.”
Is cannabis infused food legal?
While the FDA says that CBD cannot be marketed as a food or dietary ingredient under the exclusionary clauses of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act ( which prohibits the marketing of a substance as a dietary supplement or food if the substance is the subject of an investigational new drug application) states are taking the matter in their own hands.
Colorado recently amended their food and drug laws to say that food containing CBD is not adulterated and therefore is permitted for sale.
California says no, and Washington is undecided.
Your cafe will be a novelty to begin with, but how will you keep up with competition?
Your cafe will be a leader in the field, a novelty, and an inspiration to other restaurant owners.
Beyond novelty, people want to have an experience when they are dining. What does that include?
- comfortable seating
- attentive but not pushy staff
- delicious food
What can we learn from cannabis cafes in Amsterdam?
Once our legislators get out of their 1950’s mindset and trust the public to behave like responsible adults, we can expect to see the rise of cannabis cafes. Cannabis cafes provide revenue, novelty, and an experience for locals and tourists alike.
Pot is not a gateway drug, and it is certainly no worse in effect than alcohol on the human system. Driving laws are applicable to driving under the influence of cannabis.
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Once you open your cannabis cafe, you'll need a website
We live in a digital world. You need to have a terrific website that will bring value and showcase your investment in your business.
The design of your cannabis cafe website should be engaging
There is no reason that the design of your cannabis cafe website has to be clinical and boring.
Which features does a cannabis cafe website need to have?
- It must be responsive-that is, it must function well across all devices
- It must be fast loading
- It needs to be SEO optimized. That pertains to the content written on your pages, not just the technical SEO on the developer’s end.
- It needs to be SEO optimized for local and voice searches.
- It must have your contact information in the header
- It should have a logical layout
Once the functional demands of your website are satisfied, you can elevate engagement with a beautiful design.
How can you enhance visual design? By featuring the following:
- Beautiful photos
- A 360 degree tour of your cafe
- A FAQ section
Showcase your menu and decor
I really think the California Cannabis Cafe missed the mark by not incorporating large photos. It’s decor gorgeous, so why not showcase it.
Which other features are important to cafe web design?
- Color. Color is a powerful method of setting mood and sending messages to your customers. The advertising industry has spend multi millions researching the effect of color on consumers and they have isolated the meanings that colors can convey.
- Fonts, another powerful method of setting tone and mood.
- Overall layout that is clean and easy to navigate.
The following can be beautifully integrated into the overall design:
- Food and drinks menu
- Links to your social media pages
Tell your story on your cannabis cafe website to bond with your audience
Your website is where you will have a chance to connect with your audience.
- Do you have a great chef?
- What inspires you?
- What did you have to overcome?
- Why a cannabis cafe?
Tell us your stories – and show us with professional quality photographs.
Showcase your menu
Although food won’t be cannabis infused at present, people are still going to want to eat and drink well once the novelty wear wears off.
Your website is the perfect place to share information with your customers
Where do you source culinary ingredients from?
Where do your source your product?
People might want to know about the integrity of your herb.
How knowledgeable is your staff?
Your staff must be equipped to help novices navigate the product menu. Send them for training.
Brand reputation or how you differ from your competitors
7 ways you can be better than everyone else in your field:
- Outstanding Service
- Knowledgeable and friendly staff
- Outstanding food, drink, and weed menus
Marketing is the key to success. Your business is B2C, or business to customer. Some forms of marketing you might use:
- Paid advertising
- Internet marketing on various platforms
- Word of mouth
- Transactional marketing (coupons, deals, specials)
- Relationship building through a newsletter
Remember, your website is your greatest marketing tool.
- Sooner or later cannabis cafes will be a common feature in the United States
- Your website is the most important factor in creating a brand and being discovered online
- The design of your cannabis cafe website is going to be dependent on your audience, location, type of food you serve, and decor of your cafe. Urban, suburban, rural, sophisticated, homey-all are facets of your enterprise and must work together to build your brand.
- Well written content and images can tell your story and create an emotional connection to your audience
- Newsletters, social media, specials, and events should all be part of your marketing strategy.
We have always favored the legalization of cannabis. We find it distressing that cannabis users have been targeted and imprisoned in the past.
Health and well being
We also have seen the beneficial effect cannabis has had on our friends and loved ones, helping them cope with stress, pain, and mood regulation.
A well designed WEBSITE brings VALUE to your business
We are extremely excited by the value our industry can bring to yours. We are also highly motivated by the web design possibilities inherent within a brand new industry where few precedents have been set.
We would sincerely like to partner with you in being at the forefront of that industry.
If you need the following, we can help
- A cannabis cafe web design