A New California Bill Would Allow Legal Weed Catering at Public Events
State law still blocks cannabis and alcohol from being served in one location, though, so weed-friendly weddings would need to stay booze-free.
Published on March 8, 2023

California lawmakers just proposed a bill that would allow catering services to legally serve cannabis at private events.

Weed-themed weddings, parties, and other catered events are actually already pretty common in the Golden State, but these events are not strictly legal. California does allow cannabis to be used and sold at public festivals and concerts, but each event must individually apply for a license to host legal weed sales. Event organizers are also allowed to personally buy weed and hand it out at private events, but they are banned from outsourcing this work to a catering company or other third-party business.

Assemblymember Ash Karla (D-San Jose) just proposed a new bill that would do away with this restriction. If passed, the bill would allow caterers to apply for licenses to serve cannabis at private events. Existing legal cannabis companies would also be able to obtain catering licenses allowing them to directly provide their wares to events. Caterers would also be allowed to repurpose any unused weed from events, so unsmoked pre-rolls wouldn't end up in the trash.

Karla's bill wouldn't change the existing law that bans establishments from selling weed and booze under the same roof, though. Cannabis catering companies would not be permitted to serve alcohol along with weed, so events would need to choose between booze and bud. Licensed weed caterers would not be allowed to sponsor, advertise, or even actually host the event, either, so all promotion will still have to be done by the event organizer.

The bill also imposes an arbitrary cap on the number of pot events any given caterer would be allowed to serve. Each business would only be allowed to provide cannabis or paraphernalia at any one premises for a maximum of 36 times a year. This would force catering services to keep changing up their venues if they intended to hold more than three dozen pot events in any given year.

It's unclear whether or not the bill has a chance of becoming law. Karla proposed a similar bill last year, but it did not advance through the Assembly. But if it does pass this year, it could help provide some oversight to an industry that is currently operating in a quasi-legal state. Many cannabis lovers are already setting up weed tents at their wedding receptions, but public consumption restrictions often force them to bend the rules and hide the weed from watchful authorities.

But in one particularly bizarre case, a wedding host actually hid the weed from her guests. Last year, a Florida bride and her event caterer were arrested for adding weed to the food being served at her reception. The bride apparently didn't even tell her husband about the surprise dosing, nor did she tell the guests. Unsurprisingly, the event didn't go down well, and quite a few guests ended up in the hospital after getting unexpectedly high AF.

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Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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