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Cannabis Cafe Bill Vetoed in California

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Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have seen the introduction of Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes in California.

Newsom said he vetoed the bill over concerns that it would undermine the state’s smoke-free workplace protections.

The Bill was an amendment to Section 26200 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to cannabis and would have allowed ‘consumption lounges’ where customers could smoke, vaporise and ingest cannabis or cannabis products on the premises of a retailer.

While customers can already consumer their products on the site of purchase, the lounges would have created a more relaxed, dedicated space for consumption.

The bill would have also enabled the sale of pre-packaged, non-cannabis-infused, non-alcoholic food and beverages, along with the ability to host events.

In his veto letter, Newsom wrote: “This bill would allow local jurisdictions to permit certain cannabis retailers to prepare and sell food or drinks that do not contain cannabis, as well as host and sell tickets to live events at their licensed premises.

“I appreciate the author’s intent to provide cannabis retailers with increased business opportunities and an avenue to attract new customers. However, I am concerned this bill could undermine California’s long-standing smoke-free workplace protections.

“Protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount. I encourage the author to address this concern in subsequent legislation.”

The bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Matt Haney stated that the bill would allow struggling cannabis businesses to diversify away from the cannabis-only “dispensary” model, emphasising that the bill enjoyed broad bi-partisan support throughout the legislative process.

In a press release published in September, Haney stated: “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.

“There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal. If an authorised 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.”

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