A California bill to legalize marijuana cafes—allowing dispensaries to offer non-cannabis food and drinks at their location if they receive local approval—is officially heading to the governor’s desk.
Days after the Senate passed a slightly amended version of the legislation from Assemblymember Matt Haney (D), the Assembly concurred with the opposite chamber’s changes on Monday in a 48-7 vote. It now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).
AB 374 would allow local governments to authorize cannabis consumption lounges to prepare and sell non-cannabis foods and soft drinks at their facilities. The sale of alcoholic beverages at the cannabis cafes would continue to be prohibited, as would smoking tobacco.
The legislation would further explicitly authorize “live musical or other performances on the premises of a retailer or microbusiness licensed under this division in the area where the consumption of cannabis is allowed, and the sale of tickets for those performances.”
Retailers and microbusinesses would be permitted to offer freshly prepared food and drinks, but the bill limits the sale of prepackaged food to retailers, which is consistent with regulations that the state’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) adopted late last year.
The bill was revised along the process to make it explicitly clear that hemp-based food items or drinks are not considered “non-cannabis” products that could be sold at the cafes. It also now says that non-cannabis items “shall be stored and displayed separately and distinctly from all cannabis and cannabis products present on the premises.”
There have been examples of California businesses that have found workarounds to permit on-site consumption while making food available to guests—but they’ve operated in a grey area, partnering with separately licensed restaurants that receive the profits.
Newsom hasn’t publicly commented on the legislation, but he’s a longtime supporter of cannabis legalization. (Full Story)