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California legislation allows cannabis to be sold and consumed at special events

California governor Jerry Brown signed legislation which allows cannabis to be sold and consumed at special events.

Prior to the passage of AB 2020, California required an 11-step procedure for cannabis-related business licenses. While the Bureau for Cannabis Control could issue temporary licenses to businesses interested in establishing temporary events celebrating cannabis, the application process was lengthy and cumbersome to small, independently owned businesses.

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The requirements for establishing a temporary event included submission of fingerprints as well as a background check, a licensing fee, and an established labor peace agreement.

On Jan. 1 when AB 2020 becomes a part of the California Business and Professions Code, if a local municipality is interested in hosting a cannabis-related event it may designate a permissible location for cannabis businesses, rather than restricting these events to fairgrounds or agricultural grounds.

Assemblymember Bill Quirk/ Bill Quirk

Why is this a big deal?

Author and sponsor of AB 2020, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, saw a gap in cannabis licensing and permitting and authored the bill in the hopes of providing local municipalities with authority to determine where temporary cannabis events can happen.

“Cannabis events support local economies and small businesses. Despite the fiscal and communal benefits such events bring to a city or local community, current law prohibits local governments from approving applications for cannabis sales at special events if they are held anywhere but on county fairgrounds,” Assemblymember Quirk stated in a statement following the signing of his bill.

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AB 2020 fixed this gap, and local governments may now approve temporary cannabis event licenses at any venue where they wish to permit them. Prior to this legislation, the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act issued licenses for temporary cannabis events at a fairground or agricultural grounds.

The problem with this type of license is that fairgrounds and agricultural grounds may not always be convenient for potential clientele. For example, Oakland. Oakland is a part of Alameda County. The fairgrounds for Alameda County are located in Pleasanton, not the population center of Oakland. To get to Pleasanton from Oakland requires a fair bit of rough public-transportation, planning, and a willingness to pay a stiff Lyft or Uber fee.

With the passage of AB 2020, cannabis events are not restricted to the wayside of fairgrounds but can take place in more central locations throughout cities in California.

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Registered supporter of AB 2020 Rebecca Kaplan, author of the first “tax and regulate” law for cannabis in the U.S. and council member for the City of Oakland thanked Gov. Brown for his signature on this groundbreaking legislation.

“With this bill now law, any local jurisdiction can choose to take part in this robust industry, while supporting small businesses, enhancing regional economic opportunities, and maintaining safety,” Kaplan said in a statement.

Upon learning that his bill will become law, Assembly Member Quirk also expressed his gratitude. “Under this bill, the state has given our cities more autonomy in determining where and how temporary cannabis events take place throughout California,” Assembly Member Quirk said.


*Header Image: Jerry Brown/ Neon Tommy

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