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California to Allow Cannabis On-Site Consumption, Sales During 2024 State Fair

The state of California will be allowing the sale and consumption of cannabis at this year’s fair for the first time. While the fair has in the past featured educational booths on marijuana as well as competitions, this will be the first time adults will be allowed to consume and buy the drug.

Embarc cofounder Lauren Carpenter stated that hosting marijuana sales and consumption was a huge milestone in destigmatization as it facilitated a deeper connection between farmers who grow their products with extra care and consumers.

The state fair is set to begin on July 12, 2024, and run July 28, 2024, featuring a 30,000-foot2 consumption area. Any individual aged 21 years and older will be able to review different marijuana products, virtually add them to a cart, then pick the products up at one of the off-site dispensaries owned by Embarc, which is one of the fair’s partners on the expanded cannabis offerings.

James Leitz, executive producer of the Cannabis Competition and Exhibit, stated that this move by the state called attention to the important role of marijuana in the agricultural industry of California, and marked an important milestone in the fair’s 170-year history. Leitz explained that affording patrons the chance to directly engage with and consume different brands and expanding the competition was transformational, particularly when it came to how the public understood marijuana.

California is the second state to allow the sale and use of marijuana on-site, after the state of New York allowed the same at its 2021 fair following the legalization of recreational marijuana.

New York didn’t continue the tradition, however, after its fair prevented public consumption in 2023. However, attendees could still purchase cannabis products from the local growers at a marijuana farmers’ market held together with the event.

The categories at this year’s marijuana awards competition at California’s state fair are also being broadened to include other product categories, including edibles, concentrates and pre-rolls. This has led to a doubling in the number of entries, an encouraging move.

The CEO of the California State Fair, Tom Martinez, stated that the fair made a historic move to allow a marijuana exhibit and competition in 2022. Martinez also revealed that the fair had partnered with Embarc, the state of California and the city of Sacramento, as well as public health and safety infrastructure, to make sure that the event was both community sensitive as well as responsible.

In other news, the California Assembly passed a measure to legalize marijuana cafes in the state.

As different legal marijuana markets evolve to allow the consumption of the substance at events such as state fairs, industry actors such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) could attract more customers during those events and convert them into long-term clients.

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