Yo, peeps! Check it out, California Governor Gavin Newsom just straight-up vetoed a bill that would’ve let cannabis cafes serve up that good good, along with some grub and drinks. You know, like those famous coffee shops in Amsterdam? The bill, called Assembly Bill 374 (AB 374), was passed by the California legislature last month, but Newsom shut it down. It was introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Matt Haney, who’s all about giving people what they want.
So here’s the deal. Right now, cannabis lounges in Cali can’t sell freshly prepared food to their customers. They can only offer prepackaged stuff or let customers bring their own food. But they can’t actually whip up some tasty treats themselves. Haney’s bill would’ve changed all that and allowed these lounges to serve up some bomb food and drinks. Plus, they could have live entertainment events too!
In the Netherlands, they got over 700 cannabis cafes, also known as coffee shops. These spots attract 1.5 million visitors every year! Haney thinks that if Cali let their lounges operate the same way, it would bring in more cash and help out struggling downtown areas. And honestly, who wouldn’t wanna enjoy some legal weed while sipping on a latte, munching on a scone, and grooving to some sick beats?
But last Saturday, Newsom said “nah” to AB 374. He did say he appreciates the whole idea of giving cannabis retailers more business opportunities and attracting new customers. But he’s concerned that the bill goes against California’s smoke-free workplace laws. Protecting workers’ health is a big deal for him, so he wants Haney to come back with a new bill that addresses this concern.
After Newsom dropped the veto hammer, Haney wasn’t happy. He took to social media and said that this bill is crucial for supporting Cali’s regulated cannabis industry. They’re dealing with some tough challenges, like high costs and competition from unlicensed operators. Haney sees AB 374 as a way to level the playing field and help out the legit businesses.
You see, there’s a huge black market for weed in California. Illegal sellers don’t have to deal with all the regulations, testing, permits, and taxes that legal businesses do. In 2020, legal cannabis sales in Cali hit $4 billion, but illegal sales were estimated to be over $8 billion! That’s a big gap, my friends. Haney wants to close it by giving the legal businesses a fair shot.
He also pointed out that voters already said it’s cool to smoke weed in certain places. AB 374 just wanted to let those places serve food, coffee, and put on live shows. Haney appreciates Newsom’s concern for worker’s health and wants to work with him and labor leaders on getting it right. He plans on bringing the bill back next year.
So unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any cannabis cafes popping up in Cali just yet. But the fight ain’t over! Haney and all the folks who support this bill are gonna keep pushing until they get what they want. And hey, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, hit up one of those coffee shops and see what all the buzz is about!