CAPA Legislative Update: Last-Call Looms But Lawmakers Leery of Loopholes

Every legislative session, the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA)™ identifies key bills to support or oppose. These bills promise to profoundly change the alcohol regulatory landscape. An overview of the bills of interest is below. (Note that dead bills do not always stay that way—lawmakers will occasionally use legislative tricks such as "gut and amend" to reintroduce bills that failed on first pass. It is important to keep monitoring alcohol legislation even if you think things are winding down.)


AB 2460—the Free Booze in Art Galleries Bill
This bill would have allowed art galleries to serve beer and wine to patrons without needing a liquor license. Much like the Dry Bar Bill before it, it creates a class of venues that can serve alcohol without any oversight or service training. Anyone who has been to an art opening understands how easy it is for underage or intoxicated patrons to get served even with ostensible licensing requirements. This would have opened the floodgates. Fortunately, cool heads prevailed and the bill did not pass out of its house of origin.

AB 2738—the Palcohol Loophole Bill
The sale of powdered alcohol, aka palcohol, was banned in California last year. The Palcohol Loophole bill created special classes of powdered alcohol that would be exempt from the ban. These classes would have rendered the palcohol ban void for all intents and purposes. This craven effort to undermine California's decision to keep distinctly dangerous products off shelves died when it failed to pass out of its house of origin.

SB 905—the 4 A.M. Bar Bill
SB 905, Sen. Scott Wiener's efforts to skirt the rejection of last year's 4 A.M. bar bill, was passed by the Senate G.O. committee but placed in the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations committee. Unfortunately for California, the chairman of that committee is Senator Ricardo Lara, a co-author of the bill. CAPA expects the bill will be voted out of suspense, and is preparing to work with members of the State Assembly to stop it there. Allies and California residents concerned with the proliferation of violence and injury should TAKE ACTION now to oppose the bill.


AB 2914—the No Boozy Cannabis Bill
Prop 64 legalized the sale of cannabis products to all adults in California, but contained language restricting efforts to combine alcohol and marijuana products. However, the language was vague enough that some nitpicking entrepreneurs have floated plans to mix the two drugs. The No Boozy Cannabis Bill clarifies and strengthens the law: no aspects of marijuana may be sold in alcohol, in the same store as alcohol, or proffered at the same event that alcohol is served. The bill has passed Assembly G.O. and awaits the vote in Assembly Appropriations.

CAPA and Alcohol Justice will continue to provide legislative updates over the course of the year. Please contact Alcohol Justice if you have any questions or wish to lend your voice to our bills of concern.

READ MORE about alcohol-related legislation in California.