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New CA Cannabis Cafe Bill

cannabis lounge

If you could go somwhere in public to smoke, eat, drink (non-alcoholic) and hang out with good company, would you? There is a possibility this could become a new thing in California.

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to permit the state’s licensed cannabis consumption lounges to serve freshly prepared food and drink and host live events.

Introducing, AB 374

Just last week, a California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow the state’s licensed cannabis consumption lounges to sell freshly prepared foods and beverages and host live events.

The measure, Assembly Bill 374 (AB 374), was introduced by Democratic Assembly Member Matt Haney.

Bring on the Food

Currently under California law, cannabis consumption lounges are not allowed to sell freshly prepared food to their consumers.

AB 374 would allow cannabis consumption lounges in California to sell freshly prepared food and drinks and to host live entertainment events.

Can you imagine the attention and revenue these lounges would bring to our communities from locals and tourists?

“In the Company of others”

What better to add to a smoke sesh than yummy food/snacks, coffee, or good company?

Back in November of 2022, a rule change allowed lounges to offer prepackaged food and beverages and/or for consumers to bring in their own prepared items on a limited basis. Although, the businesses themselves do not have the opportunity to serve most non-infused products to their customers.

“Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others. And many people want to do that while sipping coffee, eating a scone, or listening to music,” Haney said in a statement. “There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal. If an authorized cannabis retail store wants to also sell a cup of coffee and a sandwich, we should allow cities to make that possible and stop holding back these small businesses (High Times).

The bill would not permit cannabis consumption lounges to sell alcoholic beverages.

“To be clear, we’re not saying that coffee shops should be allowed to sell cannabis,” Haney said. “We’re saying that cannabis shops should be allowed to sell coffee. It shouldn’t be illegal for an existing cannabis business to move away from only selling marijuana and instead have the opportunity to grow, thrive and create jobs by offering coffee or live jazz” ( High Times).

New Opportunities Ahead

AB 374 does not automatically permit cannabis consumption lounges to serve food and drink or host live events.

Actually, local governments would also have to approve the change for the businesses in their jurisdictions. City leaders in West Hollywood, Palm Springs and Cathedral City have already passed such ordinances, according to Haney’s office. I

Here, locally in San Francisco, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman plans to introduce legislation to allow the city’s consumption lounges to take advantage of Haney’s proposal.

“I think those (current) restrictions don’t make sense and they’re not helpful to the lounges,” Mandelman said. “And I think that in terms of making those more enjoyable spaces and building out our local cannabis industry, tourism and economic developments — for all those reasons, it makes sense to take advantage of what Assemblyman Haney is putting forward” ( High Times).

Before it can become law, AB 374 must first be passed by the California Assembly and state Senate before heading to the office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Let’s hope that Newsom will give our CA consumption lounges a new opportunity to succeed in such a challenging business environment.

Here’s to new cannabis opportunities ahead! Stay tuned for more details.

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