In a flurry of bill-signing after the end of the legislative session, California governor Gavin Newson signed a number of bills impacting the alcohol beverage industry in the state.
Departing from the federal government, Newson signed into law AB-45 which will allow the inclusion of hemp or its derivatives in food and beverages. While hemp was legalized at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm, federal agencies have been slow to clarify the kinds of products to which hemp-derivatives like CBD may be added. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has not published any regulatory guidance since December 2018, when it declared that notwithstanding the passage of the Farm Bill it still considered CBD an illegal adulterant under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. AB 45 now clearly allows CBD in a wide range of products including cosmetics, dietary supplements and food and beverages.
Newson also signed two bills extending provisions that were put into place during the pandemic. SB 389 extends cocktails-to-go through December 31, 2026. It requires that all drinks must still be sold with a meal, meaning that bars and taverns that do not serve bona-fide meals are excluded in the provision. It limits customers to two drinks per meal and for pickup only, cutting out delivery services. The governor also signed B 314, which allows for alcohol service in the outdoor extended licensed premise (“parklets”) which was temporarily allowed last year during the pandemic. That bill ends on July 1, 2024.