How the Booming Marijuana Industry Could Change the Face of Restauranteering

Why Weed, and Why Now?

No matter where you look these days it seems the Cannabis industry is blowing up. Ten states have legalized recreational use of Marijuana while a multitude of others are currently working on doing so or already have limited access laws in place. With this major revenue source opening up, it’s no wonder we’re seeing businesses of every kind jump on the Cannabis bandwagon. In fact, research published in April of 2018 finds that the Marijuana industry as a whole may be worth as much as 146 billion dollars by 2025. 

As reported previously, Torsten Kuenzlen, a past executive for Coca-Cola and Molson Coors, and now CEO of Canadian based Cannabis producer Sundial, had this to say about just how much the Marijuana business is already pervading into food and drink industries

“We know that virtually all alcohol companies are very carefully looking at the cannabis space and looking to partner in some shape or form.”

With alcohol companies heavily interested in Cannabis corporations, and with alcohol provisions arguably crucial to a restaurant’s business reputation, it would seem like it’s a fine time for those in the restaurant business to start looking to Cannabis as the next door opener. Some activists and restaurateurs are already bringing the herb into the public dining sector and are pushing for further abilities to boost business with Marijuana. For the first time ever, politics, Cannabis, and the restaurant industry are colliding in major ways. 

Going Green in a Whole New Way

In Oregon, one of the ten states where recreational Marijuana use is unrestricted, the plant is easy to purchase, but what remains difficult is finding a place to smoke it legally. With legal consumption of Cannabis restricted to private residences, and with many landlords prohibiting use in rented spaces, the New Revenue Collation, a Marijuana advocacy group, and state senator Lew Frederick, are teaming up to provide legislation to allow for public use in gathering places dubbed Marijuana Cafes. It is unknown if this would provide the opportunity for already existing restaurants to serve as cafes, or if only Cannabis infused food and drink could be served.

With similar ordinances facing lawmakers in Nevada, and with the world’s first Cannabis coffee house opening in Denver, The Coffee Joint, this willingness and openness to Marijuana based dinners should showcase just how prevalent in the eatery world the plant is becoming. Even chain restaurant giant Jack in the Box got in on the Canna-fun earlier this year when they teamed up with Merry Media to produce the Merry Munchie Meal which offered food from the menu’s most popular selection at a price of, you guessed it, $4.20. With so much publicity surrounding the issue and small start-ups and major corporations alike cashing in on Cannabis, now is as good a time as ever to consider what the green can do to get you some green. 

Don’t Harsh My Buzz

As game changing as this all may sound for the restaurant industry, there are still some major hurdles and questions to overcome before the Cannabis Cafe prototype sees its nationwide debut. Restaurant liability is still a major concern. If someone overindulges would the establishment be held responsible as they may be in the case of alcohol? Another concern is how revenue will be processed since Marijuana is still illegal on a federal level and banks are federally regulated.

Though, this last section may have harshed your mellow if you were considering entering into the Cannabis Restaurant business, or providing Cannabis provisions at your already established location, it is important to note that laws pertaining to the plant are changing abruptly and paying attention to them as they do will help you stay on top of what you can and can’t do legally. With so many restaurants, dinners, and even fast food chains vying for Cannabis inclusion, its a pretty good sign that Marijuana may be the boom of the 21st century, not just in the eatery industry, but across the board. 


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