It’s a no on CalAmsterdam. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) made several significant decisions over the weekend that impact the state’s cannabis landscape. Notably, he vetoed the Cannabis Cafe Bill aimed at legalizing consumption of cannabis in cafes, a move that supporters believed would enhance opportunities for socialization and business expansion. Additionally, Newsom vetoed marijuana packaging legislation, which industry operators argued would have imposed excessive restrictions on them. He signed several bills that will bring changes to various aspects of California’s marijuana regulations, including equity, tracking, testing, and licensing.
These actions from the governor followed closely on the heels of his recent veto of legislation aimed at legalizing the possession of specific psychedelics, while concurrently signing a bill that prohibits employers from inquiring about prior marijuana use during the hiring process.
The now-vetoed Assembly Bill 374 (AB 374) would have granted local governments the authority to permit marijuana consumption lounges to serve non-cannabis food and beverages on their premises. The proposed legislation also explicitly sanctioned the hosting of live musical performances or other entertainment within the designated cannabis consumption areas, with provisions for ticket sales.
Governor Newsom, in his veto message, expressed his appreciation for the bill’s intent to expand business opportunities for cannabis retailers and attract new customers. However, he voiced concerns that the legislation might compromise California’s longstanding protections for smoke-free workplaces.
“By prohibiting entire categories of images, this bill would sweep in commonplace designs, and I am not convinced that these additional limits will meaningfully protect children beyond what is required under existing law,” he said. “California must continue to refine and advance its regulation of cannabis to protect the health and safety of children. As such, I am directing the Department of Cannabis Control to strengthen and expand existing youth-related cannabis protections—including measures to enhance enforcement of those protections.”
“Protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount,” Governor Newsom stated. “I encourage the bill’s author to address this concern in subsequent legislation.”
In response to the veto, Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), the bill sponsor, simply tweeted four sad face emojis in response to the governor’s action.