Assembly Member Matt Haney is sponsoring Assembly Bill 374, which would ease some of the restrictions on cannabis consumption lounges in California. If passed, the bill would allow marijuana retailers to operate kitchens and host events, such as live music performances, at their stores.
Currently, licensed cannabis consumption lounges in California are only permitted to sell cannabis and accessories or rent smoking devices. They are not allowed to prepare or serve food and beverages on site, which limits their ability to generate revenue. However, if AB 374 is approved, licensed retailers would be allowed to offer prepared foods, coffee, and other beverages to their customers. Assembly Member Haney emphasized that the bill is not proposing to allow coffee shops to sell cannabis, but rather that cannabis shops should be allowed to sell coffee. The bill aims to create a new opportunity for cannabis businesses to expand their offerings and promote the growth of the industry in California. Although California has a few dozen consumption lounges, current regulations make it challenging for licensees to generate revenue. They are not able to prepare or serve food and beverages on site, and specific consumption lounge licenses are not available in the state. As a result, applicants can only apply for retail permits, which limits their ability to provide a full-service experience to their customers. If passed, AB 374 would open up new opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs and create job opportunities in the foodservice and entertainment industries. The bill has yet to be passed, but it could provide a boost to the cannabis industry in California and give customers a new and improved experience when purchasing marijuana products.