A California lawmaker has launched a invoice that might permit the state’s licensed hashish consumption lounges to promote freshly ready meals and drinks and host reside occasions. The measure, Meeting Invoice 374 (AB 374), was launched final week by Democratic Meeting Member Matt Haney.
Underneath California regulation, hashish consumption lounges should not allowed to promote freshly ready meals to their patrons. A rule change adopted in November 2022 permits lounges to supply prepackaged meals and drinks and for patrons to convey their very own freshly ready gadgets on a restricted foundation, however the companies themselves are denied the chance to serve most non-infused merchandise to their clients.
Haney’s invoice would permit consumption lounges in California to promote freshly ready meals and drinks and to host reside leisure occasions. Within the Netherlands, greater than 700 hashish cafes, sometimes called espresso retailers, draw 1.5 million guests per yr, in accordance with info from Haney’s workplace. Permitting the state’s consumption lounges to function below the same enterprise mannequin would give the companies new financial alternatives and will function a draw for vacationers and locals to go to struggling downtown enterprise districts.
“Numerous individuals need to get pleasure from authorized hashish within the firm of others. And many individuals need to do this whereas sipping espresso, consuming a scone, or listening to music,” Haney said in a press release. “There’s completely no good purpose from an financial, well being, or security standpoint that the state ought to make that unlawful. If a licensed hashish retail retailer desires to additionally promote a cup of espresso and a sandwich, we should always permit cities to make that attainable and cease holding again these small companies.”
The invoice wouldn’t allow hashish consumption lounges to promote alcoholic drinks. Moreover, Haney famous that the proposal is proscribed to licensed consumption lounges and doesn’t allow different sorts of enterprises to enter the authorized hashish market.
“To be clear, we’re not saying that espresso retailers must be allowed to promote hashish,” Haney mentioned. “We’re saying that hashish retailers must be allowed to promote espresso. It shouldn’t be unlawful for an present hashish enterprise to maneuver away from solely promoting marijuana and as a substitute have the chance to develop, thrive and create jobs by providing espresso or reside jazz.”
Invoice Affords New Alternatives For Consumption Lounges
Supporters of the laws say that Haney’s invoice would give hashish consumption lounges alternatives to develop and serve their clients. Though he has not taken a place on the laws, Nikesh Patel, the director of San Francisco’s Workplace of Hashish, mentioned that new sources of income may assist companies survive in a aggressive and extremely regulated trade.
“We hear from our operators that it’s a really difficult time to be within the hashish area,” said Patel. “And among the causes are lowered foot site visitors on the streets and better tax burdens on hashish companies. There may be nonetheless competitors with the illicit market, and the price of flower as a complete has gone down, and that’s had a trickle impact on your complete provide chain.”
Haney’s invoice doesn’t robotically allow hashish consumption lounges to serve foods and drinks or host reside occasions. As a substitute, native governments would additionally need to approve the change for the companies of their jurisdictions. Metropolis leaders in West Hollywood, Palm Springs and Cathedral Metropolis have already handed such ordinances, in accordance with Haney’s workplace. In San Francisco, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman plans to introduce laws on Tuesday to permit town’s consumption lounges to reap the benefits of Haney’s proposal.
“I feel these (present) restrictions don’t make sense and so they’re not useful to the lounges,” Mandelman mentioned. “And I feel that by way of making these extra gratifying areas and constructing out our native hashish trade, tourism and financial developments — for all these causes, it is smart to reap the benefits of what Assemblyman Haney is placing ahead.”
Earlier than it will possibly develop into regulation, AB 374 should first be handed by the California Meeting and state Senate earlier than heading to the workplace of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration. Though he’s not sure if the governor will signal the invoice if he’s given the possibility, Haney mentioned that hopes Newsom will give California’s consumption lounges a brand new means to reach a difficult enterprise setting.
“California’s small hashish companies are struggling,” mentioned Haney. “Points like over-saturation, excessive taxes, and the thriving black market are hurting hashish companies who comply with the foundations and pay taxes.”
“I hope that the governor, as a small-business proprietor himself previously who has been concerned within the hospitality trade, can now see this as a possibility,” he added.