Cover image via 

A cannabis restaurant is opening in Nashville, Tennessee, even though the state is still one of 13 that hasn’t legalized medical or recreational weed.

The Nashville Business Journal reported that Buds & Brews will be owned by the same person behind local brand Craft Cannabis, which offers hemp-based edibles for sale, and bars for hemp flower and dabs at its nine (and soon to be 14) Tennessee locations.

Cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight is legal in Tennessee under the federal 2018 Farm Bill.

The North Germantown neighborhood restaurant sounds like it will be giving sports bar vibes, and will reportedly open in late April or early May. Its team expects it will be the first of many cannabis businesses to open their doors in the state.

“This is the right time and location in Germantown for us to be able to offer this truly unique infused culinary experience for patrons,” said owner Michael Solomon in a press statement.

Solomon began his wellness brand The Holistic Connection while living in California as a medical cannabis cultivator. He said he came back to Nashville in 2018 when the Farm Bill passed, intent on bringing the joys of hemp to his home state.

The announcement of Buds & Brews’ intention to open surely marks a moment in the evolution of Tennessee’s cannabis laws. Was it only 2018 when a joint task force of local, state, and federal law enforcement entities raided 23 stores selling cannabidiol, or CBD, edibles — an action that resulted in 21 indictments? The crackdown stemmed from complaints a county sheriff said he received from parents who were upset that their kids had come into possession of CBD candies.

And now Nashville will have its weed sauces in 2021. Rather than cooking plates with cannabis, Buds & Brews plans to serve non-medicated food. Instead, Chef Sam McGee (a veteran of such Nashville spots as 5th and Taylor and Urban Grubb) will concoct cannabis-infused, standalone sauces — all the better for customers looking to practice caution with their dosing.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the state are pushing for expanded access for residents to cannabis. A bicameral bill that would regulate medical marijuana is being debated by the State Assembly’s judiciary committee. It was introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate by State Representative Bruce Griffey, a Republican, and State Senator Sara Kyle, a Democrat. It would create a state-legal medical cannabis industry, as well as a 12-person commission tasked with regulating the system.

At least one other bill, the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act,” which would legalize recreational weed in the state, has been introduced in the state assembly this year.

It would seem that the people of Tennessee are ready for a policy change in the area. For years, a large portion of the population has responded in favor of recreational cannabis legalization in polls. 

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.