Funnel cake sales may be off the charts at California county fairs, as Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a bill allowing county fairs to sell cannabis on-site, and allowing for "smoking sections" where fair attendees can blaze up.
You may remember that last year, the California State Fair added a cannabis competition to its roster of livestock, cheese, and olive oil competitions and such. This year’s state fair opens tomorrow, and the cannabis competition winners will once again be on display. (The winners have already been announced.)
Mendocino Cannabis Alliance Members Triumph at the California State Fair Cannabis Awards: https://t.co/29h2OknINx— The Ukiah Post (@ukiahpost) June 29, 2023
But there’s a catch. You cannot actually buy or smoke that weed at the California State Fair. As the Sacramento Bee points out, the sale and consumption of cannabis is expressly forbidden on the Cal Expo state fairgrounds. (Except for — and I swear to god I am not making this up — a “CBD Slushie.”)
While you can taste award-winning wines & beers for a price, you're forbidden from consuming cannabis at the California State Fair in July. So why have a pot contest? "Cannabis is part of our agricultural legacy and essential to the California economy," they say. Do you agree? pic.twitter.com/URftVHiWFM— californiabeaches (@californiabeach) June 30, 2023
But cannabis sales and smoking may be coming to the next county fair you visit in California. Industry publication the Marijuana Herald reports that both houses of the California legislature have approved a bill to allow cannabis sales and consumption at California County fairs, and that Newsom signed the bill on Monday. State legislative records confirm the bill passed the Senate 40-0, and was approved by the Assembly in a 75-1 vote.
According to the text of the bill, it “authorizes the issuance of a state temporary event license to a licensee authorizing onsite cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair event, district agricultural association event, or at another venue expressly approved by a local jurisdiction, as specified.”
But the bill also slaps some new restrictions on the cannabis industry. In a new move unrelated to county fairs, the full text says “This bill would require the Department of Cannabis Control to submit to the Department of Justice fingerprint images and other related information for criminal history information checks of certain employees, prospective employees, contractors, and subcontractors."
While this bill does take effect immediately, it’s unlikely to yield cannabis sections at many of the 2023 county fairs. The necessary permits require both state and local authorization, a process that can take several months.
But 2024 may be high time for stoners to start showing up at county fairs en masse.
Image: Budding via Unsplash