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Both the California State Senate and California State Assembly have passed Assembly Bill 374, which now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. The bill would allow cannabis cafes, similar to the ones found in Amsterdam, to legally operate in California.
Under the bill, proposed by San Francisco Assembly member Matt Haney, consumers could enjoy cannabis in a manner like they currently experience coffee—casually sitting in a shop, enjoying live music or other entertainment, along with food and non-alcoholic drinks—while legally consuming marijuana.
Various types of cannabis consumption lounges are allowed in ten different states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Nevada. However, in California, the lounges are currently prohibited from selling food or drinks. The more than 700 cannabis cafes in The Netherlands (which has a population slightly half that of California) account for roughly $1 billion in sales.
“Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others,” said Haney in a release from earlier this year. “And many people want to do that while sipping coffee, eating a scone, or listening to music. 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.”
Haney’s office also notes that while consuming cannabis on-site at cannabis retailers is technically legal in California, selling non-cannabis-infused products is not. The bill would allow cannabis retailers to diversify their business and move away from the “struggling and limited dispensary model” by selling non-cannabis-infused foods.
If the bill is signed by the Governor, it would go into effect on January 1, 2024. Visitors would have to be at least 21 years of age to enter the cafes.
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