Legislation is being considered and is close to passage that will allow cannabis lounges to serve food, non-alcoholic drinks and most importantly allow for cannabis lounges to have dancing, music and entertainment just like bars and taverns.
AB 374 sponsored by Assemblyman Matt Haney will expand the activities that cannabis retailers may engage in by allowing licensed cannabis dispensaries to sell non-cannabis-infused food, nonalcoholic beverages and even tickets for live music or other performances.
This is really important as cannabis dispensaries are having difficult times competing with illegal sales which are far less costly than licensed cannabis dispensaries which pay high taxes and must comply with complex and expensive licensing requirement and regulations. In localities that have allowed dispensaries to operate consumption lounges, they are hamstrung from being able to profit from their lounge operations as current law prevents them from selling any products other than cannabis, AB 374 changes all that by allowing them to do essentially the same thing bars and taverns do which is to sell food and drink.
State law does not allow for the consumption of alcohol and cannabis at the same location. Cannabis dispensaries with lounges will have this unique ability to sell cannabis as a restaurant and entertainment facility all to themselves which will provide them with a very significant new source of revenue which illegal sellers will not be able to engage in. Cannabis lounges provide communities with multiple benefits, but the most significant in terms of health and safety is that these lounges provide an effective substitute for businesses serving alcohol.
BMD is working to make the passage of AB 374 a reality by submitting a request to CaDEM's Legislative Committee for an endorsement of AB 374 by CaDEM at the Aug. 18 - 20 Eboard meeting in Visalia. If you are going to the Eboard meeting, the vote by the Legislative Committee will be on Friday, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. Please attend and support our request for an endorsement. An endorsement by CaDEM will make it more likely that Democratic State Senators will vote in favor AB 374 and that Gov. Newsom will sign it into law.
More importantly then CaDEM's endorsement is your endorsement and help in getting it passed. AB 374 has passed the Assembly and is now going to the Senate for a vote. It could meet some very significant opposition not only from the usual assortment of police and anti-cannabis foes but also a concerted attack by bars and taverns that do not want any competition to their exclusive service of food and beverages accompanied by music, entertainment and live events.
Cannabis is the only product our there that can facilitate socialization and celebration in ways that alcohol can. Alcohol establishments are well aware of this threat to their businesses from cannabis lounges and will fight this bill tooth and nail calling upon their allies like the National Restaurant Association, California Beverage Retailers Association along with alcohol distributors and producers to lobby legislators to vote against the bill.
To counter them your State Senator needs to hear from their constituents LIKE YOU asking them to vote for AB 374. It is easy to do - it won’t take more than two minutes.
To find out who your State Senator is CLICK HERE:
Enter your address and click on LOCATE:
Then click on your Senator’s name and it will take you to their website.
Scroll through the website to find out where you can send them an email and even better find their offices and call the listed phone number.
In either case, tell them to vote for AB 374. That’s all you need to say but if you want to elaborate a bit more about why they should vote for it, all the better. You can also let them know you are a member of the Brownie Mary Democrats or if not a member, let them know you heard about it from the Brownie Mary Democrats.
This is the MOST effective way of communicating and influencing an elected official. They really pay attention when one of their constituents takes the time to go to their website to send an email or find their phone number and actually call. The alcohol industry has paid lobbyist to talk to your state senator, but they can’t vote for them and THEY KNOW YOU CAN – plus they know you might very well tell others you know to vote for them too so they really do pay attention to phone calls and emails they get from their constituents.
Their websites are open 24/7 and you can send an email anytime and call anytime as you can leave a voice message telling them vote for AB 374 if their office is closed. Take 2 minutes and do it and before long you will be able to go down to your neighborhood cannabis lounge with your friends, kick back and celebrate with your favorite cannabis product with good food, beverages while enjoying music, dancing and entertainment. It can happen but it is up to you to make it happen.
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