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California Assemblymember Introduces Bill to Legalize Cannabis Cafes

A.B. 374 would amend existing law to allow licensees to sell freshly prepared food and beverages

Last week, Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill that could potentially lead to the legalization of cannabis-related businesses offering non-intoxicating food and drinks, as well as live musical performances. A.B. 374 would amend existing law to allow licensees to sell freshly prepared food that does not contain cannabis and beverages which do not contain alcohol.

Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle that “Many people want to consume cannabis socially while having a sandwich or listening to music…we should allow that.” While legal spaces for cannabis consumption exist in some states like California, there are limited opportunities for adults to enjoy cannabis with food outside of their own homes.

Currently, local governments have the discretion to set conditions for licensed cannabis sellers allowing customers to consume on-site; however, it is prohibited for these sellers to provide freshly prepared food and beverages due to state law restrictions. West Hollywood was one of the first cities in California to permit such sales and its inaugural cannabis café, The Original Cannabis Café (formerly known as Lowell Café), saw huge demand since its opening in 2019.

The new bill could not only expand these opportunities across California but also bring it into line with nationwide leader Colorado – who passed the nation’s first and only commercial consumption law in 2019 – by eliminating the current food and beverage ban. The passage of this bill could result in a much-welcomed proliferation of places where customers can legally purchase and enjoy cannabis with fresh foods in states such as California.

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