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Bill to Legalize Cannabis Cafes Re-Introduced in California

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A bill aimed at making cannabis cafes legal in California has been re-introduced by Democratic State Assemblyman Matt Haney, reports KTVU.

A similar measure promoted by Haney last year would have allowed cannabis dispensaries — with permission from local governments — to convert their businesses into cafes where they could sell food and cannabis products and host live concerts.  Currently it is illegal for dispensaries to sell non-cannabis products such as coffee or food, though customers are permitted to smoke or consume cannabis on-site.

The bill was passed by the Assembly and Senate but was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom, due to concerns about workers being provided a smoke-free environment.

Haney said he has had discussions at Newsom’s urging with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Cannabis Control to address those concerns and create a bill that allows cannabis cafes but protects workers’ health.

He said the new measure, Assembly Bill 1775, would give local governments the opportunity to create a permitting process and regulations for local cannabis cafes.  If passed by the legislature and signed by Newsom, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2025.

“The voters of California have already decided to legalize the smoking of cannabis in public dispensaries,” said Haney. “AB 1775 just allows businesses where smoking is already happening to sell coffee and food and allow live music. I appreciate and respect the Governor’s concerns about workers’ health. And I’m looking forward to working closely with his office and with labor leaders to make sure we get this right for AB 1775.”

He noted the experience of the Netherlands, which legalized cannabis cafes in the 1970s.  Haney said the cafes have deprived the black market of illegal cannabis revenue while also providing an economic and tourism boost.  He said the Netherlands has more than 700 cannabis cafes where tourists spend over $1 billion each year.

“It’s really about fairness and supporting businesses that follow the rules,” said Haney, “If we keep allowing unnecessary regulations to strangle California’s legal cannabis businesses, we’re just encouraging illegal drug sales and all of the problems that come with that.”

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