Assemblymember Matt Haney’s bill to allow Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes in California was approved by the state Assembly with high numbers, though we may not see many of them in SF because of a possibly impending dispensary moratorium.
Former SF supervisor and current state Assemblymember Matt Haney introduced a bill to allow Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes back in February. But some local developments here in San Francisco might mean we might not get many, or even any of these cafes.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the board will vote on Supervisor Ahsha Safai’s moratorium on any new pot dispensaries that would cut off any new marijuana retailers being from being permitted in the city (unless they already have an active application pending).
“Lots of people want to enjoy legal cannabis in the company of others,” Haney said in a statement. “And many people want to do that while sipping coffee, eating a scone, or listening to music. There’s absolutely no good reason from an economic, health, or safety standpoint that the state should make that illegal.”
This bill would not allow standard coffee shops to sell marijuana. It would, however, allow dispensaries with consumption lounges (there are nearly a dozen in San Francisco) to sell non-cannabis products like coffee or non-alcoholic drinks, or host live music. Some of these SF lounges do occasionally have live music or comedy, though that right is not afforded to dispensaries statewide. And they can’t sell a normal cup of coffee at any dispensary in the state — dispensaries are pretty much only licensed to sell marijuana products.
Haney intended for his bill to create more economic opportunity for dispensaries and the cannabis industry, a sector that is not making anywhere near the money they had anticipated when they signed up for this highly taxed, highly regulated business. And the bill still needs to clear the state Senate and get Governor Newsom’s signature.
But it’s ironic that here in San Francisco, arguably the most weed-friendly big city in California, Haney’s proposal would only create opportunity for a tiny number of businesses, because SF City Hall might be on the verge of declaring there can be no more dispensaries.
Image: Justin Aikin via Unsplash