Cannabis ‘cafés’ bill sent to Gov. Newsom. Here’s what it would allow if signed into law

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(FOX40.COM) — A bill that would allow “Amsterdam-style cannabis cafés” to open in California cities that allow them has been approved by both chambers of the state Legislature and only needs the signature of the governor to be turned into law.

AB 374 by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) would allow local governments such as cities and counties to license cannabis businesses that would let the public purchase and consume other products on the premises.

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The bill was introduced as a way to help existing dispensaries and cannabis businesses offer more services, as well as to help bring more tourists, according to a statement from Haney’s office.

The bill was modeled on the cafés in Amsterdam and across the Netherlands, renowned for offering cannabis, coffee and other drinks, food and even live music.

“Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others,” Haney said in a statement. “…There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal. 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.”

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Haney’s office said that consuming cannabis at a cannabis retailer is technically legal in the state, but selling other products is not.

Recreational use of marijuana was legalized for adults over 21 in California in 2016 through the voter-approved Proposition 64, but dispensaries function only as a point of sale.

Haney’s office said that while legal marijuana sales in the state in 2020 were $4 billion, illegal marijuana sales across the state that year were projected to be above $8 billion.

AB 374 still needs Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature to become law. If Newsom does sign the bill, it will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and the “cafés” would only be allowed in cities and counties that approve them.

West Hollywood has already passed ordinances that would allow for a licensing system, and similar ordinances are being crafted in San Francisco, Haney’s office said.

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The Legislature’s passing of AB 374 comes several days after both chambers also approved a bill that would legalize several naturally occurring psychedelics, so-called “magic mushrooms.”

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SB 58 was introduced at the end of 2022 and underwent several amendments in the legislative process before being passed by both the Assembly and Senate.

If signed by Newsom, the bill would legalize the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline (but not peyote), psilocybin and psilocin for personal use by adults 21 and older.

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