With California legalizing marijuana for adults after the passing of Prop 64 in November, many in the city are planning their next steps for the cannabis industry there. While California may not have been the first to legalize, there is no denying they are one of the most mature markets after having medical cannabis for so long.
A couple of these entrepreneurs are Terrance Alan and Aaron Silverman, who are the new owners of the 44-year-old Café Flora in San Francisco’s famous Castro District. The men spoke with the Bay Area Reporter and said they met while doing cannabis advocacy and connected on a mutual vision of a restaurant where patrons could share delicious dishes while also enjoying cannabis. Their vision includes cannabis infused dishes and drinks while also sharing tapas-style dishes at the beautiful indoor-outdoor space in San Francisco. Alan said they wanted to get into this venture “so we can explore what socialization and food look like in the next 10 years.”
The new owners do understand that they face many hurdles and a long road to reach their vision. While they have just purchased the restaurant and plan to upgrade it significantly, the cannabis aspect and specifically allowing use of cannabis may be a few years off since the new law does not permit public consumption and doesn’t allow cannabis and alcohol to be sold together. That being said, Alan is the chairman of the San Francisco’s Cannabis State Legalization Task Force which is advising the city on how it should regulate marijuana after the state voted to legalize in November and has advised for specialized licenses for non-traditional cannabis businesses like bakeries and smoking lounges.
Until that point, the 2 men have brought in some veteran restaurant staff to help manage the restaurant, since neither has ever owned or operated a restaurant. They will make improvements to the building and menu and learn to operate a successful restaurant in the meantime. But, the thought of cannabis will always be prevalent and they said, “Cannabis is definitely part of our long-term vision.”