California Assembly Passes Cannabis Cafés Bill

The California Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to allow cannabis cafes in the state.

Full story after the jump.

The California Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow cannabis cafés in the state, KTVU Fox 2 reports. The measure passed the chamber 64-9.  

The legislation would permit the sale of non-cannabis products for consumption at the cafés, which is prohibited under current state law although limited on-site cannabis consumption is allowed. 

Assemblymember Matt Haney (D) tole KTVU that “There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal.” 

“Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others, and many people want to do that while sipping coffee, eating a scone, or listening to music. … 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 via KTVU 

In a statement of purpose sent to lawmakers in support of the bill, the California Nightlife Association said allowing cannabis cafés “the commonsense option to sell food and beverage that isn’t ‘prepackaged’ and giving them flexibility to provide entertainment will give a much-needed lifeline to legal cannabis retailers who are struggling mightily to survive in the industry.” 

“Additionally, this bill will give our communities new, exciting opportunities to offer arts and entertainment in spaces where it was previously impossible to do so economically,” the statement says. 

In a letter opposing the legislation, health-related industry groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association, warned the bill “could essentially turn a cannabis establishment into a restaurant and potentially force workers to accept exposure to toxic chemicals in order to keep their jobs.” 

“Workers should not have to choose between their health and a good job,” the groups wrote in the letter. “California has fought hard to protect workers and ensure a safe, healthy, smoke-free work environment. AB 374 will undo that by re-creating the harmful work environments of the past.” 

The measure moves next to the Senate.

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