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New Laws Affecting the California Alcohol Sector in 2019

by Kerana Todorov
January 02, 2019

Winery and alcohol producers now can post photos on social media about upcoming special events at restaurants, bars, wine stores or other venues in California. Another new state law prohibits cannabis-infused cocktails.

These are among the new California laws that became effective Jan. 1, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Here are a few state bills affecting the alcohol industry that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2018.

  • Assembly Bill 452 by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, updated a tied-house rule that prohibited wineries and other alcohol producers from posting a photo on social media of a venue such as a restaurant before a winemaker dinner or another event. Aguiar-Curry said in the fall the tied-house rule was outdated. “In today’s world of technology, social media, and fast-paced communication, prohibiting a winery or brewery from utilizing the full scope of social media is a competitive advantage. By allowing the limited use of photographs and sharing of website information, A.B. 2452 brings the law into the 21st century,” Aguiar-Curry stated in an email in October. Brown signed A.B. 2452 into law on Sept. 22.
  • Brown in September also signed into law a bill makes cannabis cocktails a thing of the past, according to news reports.
  • Assembly Bill 2914 by Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, “prohibits a licensee from selling, offering, or providing a cannabis product that is an alcoholic beverage, including, but not limited to, an infusion of cannabis or cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp into an alcoholic beverage.”
  • State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, sponsored Senate Bill 973 – an anti-drunken driving bill. It doubles funding for designated driver programs, from $5 annual assessment on alcohol licenses to $10 a year. The designated driver program was established in 1990 thanks to a small surcharge paid by alcohol licensees, according to a press release issued by Dodd’s office. The California Highway Patrol administers the programs

Other bills Brown signed into law include:

  • Assembly bills 1890 and 1891 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, allow state residents to taste distilled spirits in retail stores settings like those used for wine tastings. Brown signed the bills into law this fall, three years after Levine wrote another bill to allow craft distillers to sell direct-to-consumer channels.
  • Assembly Bill 1217 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D- Los Angeles, allows the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue a special on-sale general license to a historic cemetery more than 100 years old in Los Angeles.
  • Assembly Bill 2146 by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, allows advertisements by alcoholic producers to be displayed at Petco Park in San Diego - like in other California stadiums.

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