Labor Union Opposes Allowing Cannabis Consumption Lounges to Sell Food and Drinks

A rendering of Lowell Café on the northwest corner of La Brea Avenue at Lexington

A labor union is opposing an effort to amend the state’s cannabis laws to allow cannabis consumption lounges to also sell food and beverages.

The amendment to AB 1465 likely would benefit some of the eight cannabis consumption lounges in West Hollywood, which have received city licenses to serve cannabis-infused edibles or to allow cannabis smoking and vaping. Various regulations approved by the state legislature since the approval of Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) was passed in 2016, however, none of them clarified that a consumption lounge also can offer food and beverages that aren’t infused with cannabis.

In an email to cannabis

business owners and other business people, John Leonard, the City of West Hollywood’s community and legislative affairs manager, said that Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, whose district includes West Hollywood and who is the author of AB 1465, and the city’s lobbyist have worked to craft new language that could be added to AB 1465 to clarify that cannabis lounges can serve food and beverages, including alcohol.

Richard Bloom, California State Assembly
Richard Bloom

That bill currently remains in committee, where it has been since May. This session of the legislature will end on Sept. 13, so any amendments must be approved by the committee and brought forward for a vote before the state Assembly and Senate before then.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, a powerful force in Sacramento given the money it spends on political campaigns and its political endorsements, doesn’t support the proposed change. In his email, Leonard notes that UFCWU “is asking for changes (including a one-year sunset) and assurances that are unrelated to the food and beverage issue and that the city cannot agree to on the designated timeline.” State law requires that cannabis businesses with 20 or more employees have a “labor peace agreement” with a union.

UFCW Local 770 has been a strong supporter of an effort by MedMen and the three other owners of West Hollywood’s existing cannabis medical dispensaries to be granted permanent city licenses to sell adult cannabis. Those four businesses did not qualify for the eight recreational sales licenses granted by the city after a rigorous application process that include a ranking by an independent assessment committee. However, the City Council in June agreed to extend until the end of the year the temporary recreational cannabis sales licenses that it had granted those businesses before the application process began. It is expected that the decision whether to grant those businesses permanent adult sales licenses will have a major impact on the November 2020 City Council election, when John Duran and John Heilman are up for re-election, with the current cannabis businesses and the union funding campaign efforts. Duran has argued that none of those businesses should have to qualify for a license under the city’s rating process and that the city should adopt a “free-market approach.”

Meanwhile, those who have secured cannabis consumption lounge licenses have tried to find a way to work around that lack of approval of food and beverage consumption. Lowell Café, which plans to open a consumption lounge at 1201 N. La Brea Ave. at Lexington, also will have a separate and adjacent café with its own entrance at which food and beverages (but not alcohol) will be served.


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learntobeajournalist
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learntobeajournalist

I know from much personal experience that when you mix alcohol and marijuana it can create havoc in your life. Drugs destroy you. And now they’re glamorizing weed. It smells, can give you acne/hair loss, and any good MD will tell you that whether you vape or smoke, it will affect your ability to breathe. I already have difficulty breathing after 3 years of periodic vaping. That kind weed doctor MD encouraged me to stop though said he’s give me a prescription. He had the courage to speak the truth and told me the studies are show that vaping is… Read more »

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

West Weedwood, the perennial Petri dish for bad behavior.
Increase city revenue and the public be damned.
No good will come of this irresponsible and unethical behavior.

Michael Grace
Guest
Michael Grace

Imagine the political payoffs and pay for play action behind this pot shop scheme in WEHO!

learntobeajournalist
Guest
learntobeajournalist

Because you constantly screen and ban dissenting views, you have ZERO credibility.
Look at curbed LA. They let people criticize the authors or whomever all the time and as a result they have HUGE traffic because people respect journalists that don’t screen comments like something out of communism. Unless it’s a lot of swear words, print anything. This is why I visit this site less and less, and post less often. Same with friends. We support a free exchange of ideas.

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

WEHOville.com is not about building traffic. It is about reporting the news, the real news, without fear or favor, and about creating a forum where residents can discuss or debate local issues, not attack one another or make libelous and obscene statements about one another. You can always offer your opinions about WEHOville’s coverage, and if they aren’t obscenely worded or full of lies, they will be published, as so many already have been.

LearnToBeACommenator
Guest
LearnToBeACommenator

All I can say is I’m glad the “learntobeajournalist” commentator has chosen to “visit this site less and less, and post less often”.

learntobeajournalist
Guest
learntobeajournalist

That’s interesting to know, but when the site looks and feels like a news site, it should behave like one, or become like the mainstream media that blocks all comments and just gives people the propaganda. Whose to decide what is libelous? Are you the judge? You have the facts about everything? Maybe write on top of this site that it’s really a personal blog, a private group. I’ve written many comments under other names and they just sometimes don’t get published, especially if it’s even a bit against the grain or intent of the article. That’s my issue, otherwise,… Read more »

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

With more than 40 years of experience as a journalist I have a lot of knowledge about what is libelous. That’s why WEHOville does not publish any comments that accuse someone of illegal or otherwise improper behavior unless that behavior can and has been proved and is relevant to the issue under discussion. And you are not supposed to post comments on different names. WEHOville allows commenters to post without disclosing their real names. But you must select one comment name. Going forward we will step up our monitoring of IP addresses to ensure that that doesn’t continue. WEHOville is… Read more »

learntobeajournalist
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learntobeajournalist

Also the site is about traffic to some degree, or there would be no ads on it. Unless the site is independently wealthy, then ads are part of the “game” and that means you need traffic and engagement. And dissenting views are gold, and build huge credibility. They bring more comments to the site, visitors. That eventually gets people to hear what you really want to say and the dissenter eventually gets “attacked” by the mob comments anyway so the author always wins. I have many “conservative” views and they need to be heard just as much as “liberal” ones… Read more »

Steve Martin
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Steve Martin

The City’s decision to create consumption lounges was based upon the fact that an increasing number of apartments are becoming non-smoking buildings and many residents find the marijuana smoke of their neighbors a nuisance. Ideally the lounges would provide a safe place for recreational consumption. It would just seem that food and beverage sales would be a natural component of these lounges. Local 770 is simply carrying water for Med Men and the campaign to essentially increase the number of recreational distributors in West Hollywood by 50%. It is unfortunate that the City’s well meaning efforts to be creative and… Read more »

L. Helmsley
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L. Helmsley

Steve, it’s clear you’re simply carrying water for all the new licensees.
WeHo is going to have alcohol and pot coming out of their ears.
It’s unfortunate the City didn’t listen to the majority of its residents who spoke at council in favor grandfathering WeHo’s long standing and well loved existing dispensaries with recreational licences as Councilman Duran suggested.

TomSmart
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TomSmart

Perfectly said Steve!

Woody McBreairty
Guest
Woody McBreairty

I’m all for legalized marijuana & for people to use it legally in whatever way or ways that suit their needs, but there really can be too much of a good thing, especially now that they’re starting to take over major retail buildings in prominent spots on major streets, that don’t serve the entire community & that I think are going to downgrade our neighborhoods. The pot shops are closing in on us. They certainly are in my neighborhood.

JF1
Guest
JF1

yup!

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

In the application process it was always assumed that a consumption cafe serving cannabis would be allowed to serve any dish, with or without being cannabis infused. The menu on our application offered pricing with or without infusion. The clarification to the language is a minor point.

Constituent
Guest
Constituent

That socialist Richard Bloom out to move to Venezuela and take over for Nicolas Maduro

Jim Nasium
Guest
Jim Nasium

Food or no food, are there really that many people who want to smoke or eat pot, and do it in a restaurant-like setting? I don’t get it.

Woody McBreairty
Guest
Woody McBreairty

I find it concerning that West Hollywood is being inundated with pot shops, period. The former “Front Runners” athletic shoe store across from 24 Hour Fitness is a major desirable retail site for a restaurant or retail shop that could serve the entire community. As is the former “Orange Country Mattress” store on S.M. Blvd east of La Cienega, that is turning into another pot shop in a huge major former retail site that is prominently located & could serve all of the community so much better & also add some punch to the neighborhood. Considering the marijuana venue going… Read more »

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Then you should be concerned about John Duran’s advocacy of a “free market” in WeHo which would allow our city to be overwhelmed with cannabis retailers.

Counterpoint
Guest
Counterpoint

These union leaders should be ashamed.