Local Cannabis Events on the Horizon?

AB 2020 Authorizes Local Governments to Designate Areas Where Cannabis Events May Be Hosted.

Effective January 1, 2019, AB 2020 allows local governments to identify venues that may be used to host cannabis events.

Prior to its adoption, events could only be hosted on the grounds of a county fair or district agricultural association. This limitation not only restricted the number of suitable venues but also led to conflicts between whether and which cities could use their county’s fair grounds.

AB 2020 resolves those issues and allows local governments to consider for themselves whether to allow cannabis events.

Local Governments May Permit Cannabis Events

As with cannabis regulations generally, AB 2020 contemplates coordination between state and local authorities and provides that “[a] state temporary event license shall only be issued in local jurisdictions that authorize such events.”

In the event that a local government wants to permit cannabis events in its jurisdiction, it must adopt an ordinance permitting such use. Cannabis regulatory ordinance are drafted to exclude cannabis-related activities that are not expressly allowed, so this is an important first step. Then, it must consider which sites are suitable for hosting such events, keeping the above-mentioned concerns in mind.

Local Governments May Still Enforce Their Smoking / Vaping Prohibitions

AB 2020 preserves localities’ current smoking / vaping regulations. A number of California cities have adopted citywide smoking bans that prohibit smoking in public. Even if these cities were to allow cannabis events, they could still enforce their smoking / vaping prohibitions, by either prohibiting any ingestion, or by limiting ingestion to edibles.

Local Governments May Allow Cannabis Consumption

In order to permit cannabis consumption at cannabis events, local governments must ensure that event organizers comply with state regulations: (1) restrict access to the cannabis consumption area to adults over the age of 21; (2) restrict visibility of the cannabis consumption from any public place or a non-age restricted area; (3) restrict the use of premises where alcohol or tobacco is sold or consumed for cannabis events.

It is unlikely that local governments will adopt ordinances to authorize cannabis events en masse, but AB 2020 will certainly increase opportunities for where such events may be hosted.

If you have any questions regarding AB 2020 or other cannabis regulations, please contact Joaquin Vazquez, Victor Ponto, or Marc Tran.

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