New California Bill Would Allow Cannabis Catering

According to KTLA 5, a new bill in the California legislature could finally allow private events to have cannabis catering. While society is becoming much more accepting of cannabis as an alternative to booze, the California state legislature (and obviously the feds, who have still not declassified cannabis at this time) is often called out for its regressive cannabis policies, which do not reflect the will of the people. Finally, however, there could be a step in the right direction, thanks to Assembly Bill 471, which was written by Assemblymember Ash Karla (D-San Jose). Kalra is the first Indian-American to serve in the California State Legislature and previously authored bills such as AB-2542 (California Racial Justice Act of 2020) and AB 572 (California Deforestation-Free Procurement).

AB471 (which was introduced on February 6th and, at the time of reporting, is still pending review) hopes to change the current cannabis laws by expanding the existing language to grant licensed caterers the ability to serve cannabis at private events, just like a wedding venue would hire a florist for the flowers, a caterer for food, and an alcohol provider for wine. The bill would simply allow for commercial cannabis activity, so you wouldn’t have to hide your weed at your wedding but serve it responsibly to guests in the same manner as food or wine. 

However, if you like your red and green, aka mixing wine and cannabis, you’re going to have to continue to sneak one or the other or choose sides. Naturally, the bill comes with plenty of rules and restrictions. For one, the area designated for cannabis consumption must be limited to people 21 and older. And no, the caterer can not provide alcohol services. Additionally, the cannabis caterer can not sponsor, advertise, or host the event (limiting the publicity your event will get). If you are a caterer licensee, it is illegal to provide cannabis or any related paraphernalia at any one premises for more than 36 events in one calendar year, meaning that if you’re a cannabis caterer and have a favorite venue, you can only serve cannabis there 36 times in one year, aka three a month, so chose your business carefully. 

If you’re confused reading this, as you’ve been to plenty of parties in California where weed was served, here’s what this bill would change: At the moment, in accordance with California law, only the event organizers can provide cannabis for themselves. Naturally, plenty of folks bend this rule, but that’s the law. However, if AB471 is passed, cannabis companies could be hired to get their catering licenses and then provide their cannabis at private events. At the risk of killing the vibe, dear reader, one must also remember that red tape and money often make it challenging for cannabis companies to obtain such licenses in the first place, especially those without a financial leg up. 

Unfortunately, it’s also worth noting that a similar bill was proposed by Karla last legislative session and rejected. So we don’t even know if AB471 will pass. However, on a positive note, and highlighting Karla’s care for the enviornment, if it does pass, under the bill, cannabis catering companies can repurpose unused cannabis from one event to another party, minimizing waste (and ensuring no one wastes their weed). 


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