Washington cannabis cafes should really be a thing. And why they aren’t here already is a question that’s bugged your budtenders at the best Bothell weed shop for a while. Because we have a full selection of legal pot — think weed edibles, shatter wax, topicals, and vaping cartridges — it all has to be smoked in a private residence. Washington cannabis cafes don’t exist, because they aren’t legal.
But in Vancouver’s New Amsterdam Café, guests chill out, drink coffee, admire the artwork, and eat the shop’s famous grilled cheese sandwiches — all while smoking bud. Don’t have a pipe? No problem. For $5 you can rent a top-of-the-line vaporizer. And if New Amsterdam isn’t your scene, you have other options. The café is located on Vancouver’s famous “pot block,” where locals and tourists congregate in coffee shops to enjoy the city’s famous green.
So what’s wrong with this picture? Recreational marijuana is not yet legal in Vancouver. That’s why Have a Heart Belltown serves so many Canadian tourists.
And that brings us to this important questions: Why does Vancouver have better weed tourism options than Seattle, where recreational marijuana actually is legal? Yes, we have pot shops. But Seattle offers few options for visitors who want to legally sample Washington’s legal weed. Since it’s illegal to consume marijuana in public, tourists must make friends with a local or rent a smoking room at a hotel. Can we really call ourselves the Emerald City when visitors must resort to puffing in a smelly room with curtains drawn?
That just doesn’t seem very hospitable, now, does it?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018. Under the proposed law, Canadian provinces will decide how cannabis is sold and distributed. Which means that Vancouver, with its existing culture of “smoke-friendly” cafes, will be well-poised to join old Amsterdam in capitalizing on weed tourism. And where will Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma be? It’s time for Washington lawmakers to wake up and smell the… potential.