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Bill to allow Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes in California heads to governor's desk

Cannabis, or marijuana, is a psychoactive drug used for both recreational and entheogenic purposes and in various traditional medicines for centuries. Courtesy Drug Enforcement Agency.

A bill by a state legislator from San Francisco to allow Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes in California has been approved by the Legislature and is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk.

Assembly Bill 374, authored by state Assemblymember Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, passed the Assembly with a 66-9 vote Monday, Sept. 11, after previously being approved by the state Senate.

The legislation would allow local jurisdictions to authorize cannabis retailers to prepare and serve non-cannabis food and beverages and to sell tickets to live performances.

Haney's office in a statement said the bill "will allow struggling cannabis businesses to diversify away from the marijuana-only 'dispensary' model and will bring much-needed tourist dollars into empty downtowns."

Haney said, "To be clear, we're not saying that coffee shops should be allowed to sell cannabis. We're saying that cannabis shops should be allowed to sell coffee. It shouldn't be illegal for an existing cannabis business to move away from only selling marijuana and instead have the opportunity to grow, and create jobs by offering coffee or live jazz."

If signed by Newsom, the bill would take effect at the start of 2024, when local governments could then create regulations for the cafes. According to Haney's office, West Hollywood has already passed legislation to create such a licensing system, while San Francisco legislators are currently working on a similar system.

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