Last week, California State Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill that would allow state-licensed marijuana dealers to sell non-intoxicating food and beverages to their adult customers. San Francisco Chronicle Report This week.
new bill, AB 374, California will amend the law to allow licensees to sell newly prepared foods that do not contain marijuana and beverages that do not contain alcohol. The bill would allow vendors to host live musical performances and sell tickets at the same time. Passage of the bill would address a growing need — and could lead to a welcome proliferation of authentic cannabis cafes and similar businesses.
“A lot of people want to consume marijuana socially while eating a sandwich or listening to music,” says Haney. Chronicle. “We should allow it.”
We should! In most cases, though, we don’t.
In states like California, where adults can legally buy marijuana, a common problem arises. Other than participating in one’s own home, legal places to consume marijuana—third place– limited or non-existent. Commercial establishments where people can legally buy and eat food and buy and drink alcohol are ubiquitous—from bars and restaurants to sports stadiums to concert venues and more. but equivalently, Amsterdam-style space which to enjoy Cannabis with food largely non-existent.
California allows local governments to set conditions for licensed marijuana sellers to allow customers to consume marijuana and marijuana products. On site therefore, as AB 374’s content suggests, a primary obstacle (although Hardly the only one) for the proliferation of such businesses in California today isn’t what they sell (pots)—it’s what they can’t sell (fresh food).
“Under California law, marijuana lounges are not allowed to sell freshly prepared food to their patrons,” High Times One to note this week Report In the new bill. “A rule change adopted in November 2022 allows lounges to offer pre-packaged food and drinks and for customers to bring their own freshly prepared items on a limited basis, but bars businesses from serving themselves. [non-cannabis] products to their customers.”
At least one ahead-of-the-curve city in California—West Hollywood—has reaped the benefits of allowing such food sales several years ago.
“Before California adult use became legal in 2017, officials began developing long-term plans to manage marijuana lounges, launching a permitting process to house 10 dispensaries and 16 lounges in the compact city of WeHo in short order.” Eater L.A Report Last year.
As a result of that foresight open 2019 saw the opening of the Original Cannabis Cafe (née Lowell Cafe), which Eater called “the nation’s first cannabis lounge”. Saw the cafe Long lines and huge demandas becauseby Zach Weissmueller Details After opening it.
But what customers saw at Lowell’s—a stand-alone business that allows adults to smoke pot while enjoying delicious, freshly prepared food—was largely an illusion. It needs a lot to open Regulatory gymnastics– including making Separate, though outwardly seamless Complying with business food and beverage restrictions and state laws. Despite these difficulties, Similar cafes Soon in WeHo following.
Passing the new bill, however, would eliminate the food-beverage barrier and ensure the further expansion of cannabis cafes across California. It would also see California follow nationwide leader Colorado.
“A law that is effective Wednesday will allow the consumption of marijuana in specially licensed pot shops, restaurants and other businesses, including mobile ‘marijuana hospitality establishments’ such as tour buses,” becauseIts Jacob Sulam explained in a 2019 pieces Colorado’s on the nation’s first commercial consumption law. “The the law Address a distress This has long confused out-of-state visitors who stop at dispensaries in cities like Denver and Pueblo, only to discover that there is virtually no place where they can legally purchase marijuana.”
Colorado law has already helped to start A the host of new business. That state recognized that instead of forcing marijuana users to smoke in city streets and parks — that could promote complaint And conflict— Cultivating a culture of relaxed, enjoyable consumption of cannabis and food in places used for the sale of legal cannabis is good for consumers, businesses and non-consumers alike. It’s time for California and other states to follow suit.