Cannabis cafes are becoming increasingly popular as more states relax the restrictions on their establishment. Cannabis lounges in California recently got a victory that will let residents enjoy their cannabis on-site in a social setting rather than smoking alone at home.
Some cities in California have legalized cannabis cafés since 2018, but they were not permitted to serve any food or beverages. However, California passed a bill in June 2023 allowing cannabis cafes to offer food and nonalcoholic beverages if they obtain local clearance. A lot of consumers will now find it more appealing to use cannabis in public, and visiting a lounge will feel like a social activity that can be enjoyed with friends whether or not they smoke.
Although San Francisco is home to the majority of the state’s cannabis lounges right now, we predict that they will soon spread to other parts of California. In this blog, we’ll go over everything you need to know about setting up a cannabis cafe in California.
What Does The Bill Mean For Dispensaries
According to Assembly Bill 374, dispensaries will be able to transition from a business model that resembles a pharmacy to one that is welcoming. Both cannabis cafes and coffee shops will be prohibited from selling cannabis under the proposed legislation. Dispensaries can only operate in areas where cannabis stores are not allowed, therefore they still need to follow local laws in those areas.
In accordance with the provisions, this bill would establish a new license known as a consumption cafe/lounge license that would permit the retail sale of cannabis or cannabis-related items to adults 21 years of age and older as well as their on-site consumption. The bill would enable a licensed retailer to apply for a consumption cafe/lounge designation for a specified period of time, which would allow that licensee to sell cannabis and cannabis-related items for onsite use with certain restrictions.
What Does The Cannabis Bill Allow, And What It Doesn’t
The following are permitted by the bill subject to a number of state restrictions and requirements:
- Preparing or selling non-cannabis food or drinks (such as croissants and coffee) at licensed marijuana dispensaries.
- On-site live musicals or other performances.
However, the bill includes state-imposed restrictions. They consist of:
- Only individuals 21 or older would be permitted entry into the area where cannabis consumption is allowed.
- The marijuana cannot be consumed within the view of a public area.
- No tobacco or alcohol sales are allowed on the premises.
- Cannabis sales will not be permitted in coffee shops.
How To Open A Cannabis Café
Understand Cannabis Café Laws In Your State
Before you jump the gun and open a cannabis lounge in California, learn more about the state’s current cannabis regulations. Getting a cannabis business license is the first step you must take. Make sure the application has been correctly filled out, and be patient while you wait for approval.
Cannabis cafes and dispensaries are not permitted in several parts of the state. You must make sure that the city or county in question permits them. If not, look around for a different district.
Designated Cannabis Establishment Plan
A diagram of the facility known as the Designated Consumption Establishment Plan, shows the layout, identifies the locations of the facility, and denotes distinctive areas or structures that distinguish a DCE apart from other licenses that might be applicable in nearby locations. It helps to illustrate the facility’s layout.
Building & Zoning Plan
Building, construction, and zoning details are required so that the authorities can confirm a safe operation, including a building and fire safety evaluation. Additionally, it can make sure that the cannabis cafe won’t have a detrimental impact on nearby businesses and residences.
A business plan must outline the planned hours of operation and, if included, the process that customers will use to purchase marijuana from the facility. Your business plan must include a financial plan, sales and marketing plan, market analysis, and more.
A plan for responsible operations that addresses aspects like employee training, monitoring of consumption, and steps to avoid underage access, excessive drunkenness, and the unlawful sale or distribution of marijuana inside the establishment.
Waste Management Plan
Waste Management Plan for the facility’s handling and disposal of all waste, including any leftover cannabis products from customers.
What Must A Consumption Facility Have
- A place designated specifically for marijuana consumption, along with smoke-free zones. Consumption lounge regulations do permit establishments where only non-smoking cannabis is consumed; no designated smoking area is needed in these areas.
- A non-smoking area where employees can keep watch over the marijuana consumption area. The owners of the business are responsible for preventing accidental or inadvertent cannabis intake by employees while they are on the premises.
- The establishment must have a ventilation system that releases air from the marijuana consumption area outside of the structure after filtering it through a filtration system to get rid of odorous and visual smoke.
- The building must have enough walls and barriers to prevent smoke from reaching adjacent or non-smoking areas.
Rules and Application Process for Cannabis Consumption Lounges in California
You must submit an application for a Type 10 Retailer license with a specified consumption cafe/lounge site if you want a cannabis consumption lounge license in California. You must adhere to particular guidelines and laws to obtain this license type, which includes:
- The consumption facility cannot operate between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- You are able to offer cannabis to a person in an amount that is appropriate for on-site consumption.
- Customers are allowed to take the wrapping off of marijuana and marijuana-related products they purchase in the lounge.
- Consumption lounges are prohibited from selling live plants or seeds.
If the bill is signed, it will go into effect in January 2024. Local governments would still have the power to regulate businesses.