Published: June 1, 2023 5:49 PM
Bill Allowing Amsterdam-Style Cannabis Cafés Passes California Assembly
The California State Assembly has passed a bipartisan bill that allows the opening of Amsterdam-style cannabis cafés in the state. The cafés would offer a more appealing and coffee shop-style cannabis consumption experience, with non-cannabis infused products also being sold onsite. The bill, authored by State Assemblymember Matt Haney, received support from 64 assembly members, with only nine opposing it.
The current law permits onsite cannabis consumption in certain circumstances, but AB 374 would allow smoking, as well as the sale of non-cannabis related products. Currently, non-cannabis products are banned from sale in cannabis retail stores. The bill will now move to the State Senate for approval.
“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,” said Haney. “There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal.”
Amsterdam currently has over 700 cafés that permit onsite cannabis use and generate an estimated $1 billion annually. Haney hopes that by allowing cannabis cafés, California’s cannabis industry will move out of a “pharmacy-like business” and create more sociable experiences.
The bill is supported by nightlife industry groups who see its potential to promote tourism in downtown areas and help businesses to diversify their services. However, organizations such as the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association have opposed the bill claiming that it may lead to hazardous work environments for employees and exposing workers to toxic chemicals.
The bill is seen as an opportunity to help California’s struggling cannabis industry which is grappling with oversaturation, high taxes, and the thriving black market. With the passage of this bill, many cannabis retailers are hopeful that they will get the boost they need to compete more effectively in the industry.