California Finally Legalizes Street Vending

Despite the prevalence of street vendors in California for years, selling street food was illegal in California until a new law passed a couple of months ago legalizing street vendors. Now, the large number of street vendors, many undocumented immigrants who were previously facing not only fines and misdemeanors, but also deportation, can finally sell street food without worrying about the negative consequences they my face for running a business that is popular with and loved by their community. If you have any questions about opening a street vending business or continuing your previous business in the face of these new laws, contact a business law attorney at De Cardenas Law Group to get all your questions about the new law answered.

Why is the New Law Such a Big Deal?

According to research conducted by WalletHub earlier this year, California is the most diverse state in the U.S. and also has a high number of immigrants. Many immigrants, some undocumented, are unable to find traditional jobs in the community and thus create their own food vending businesses in their neighborhoods. However, prior to the passing of this new law, many of these immigrants risked getting fines, misdemeanors, and even deported for trying to make a simple living. One California woman selling corn on the side of the street was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement and faced deportation — all for trying to make a simple living. Now, as California Senator Ricardo Lara wrote on Twitter, “we can start seeing vendors for who they are — women, seniors, parents, and micro-business owners.”

Getting a License

Before you go out on the streets and open a sidewalk food stand, make sure you first obtain a license from your city or county. The new law does not automatically open up food vendor access in all cities and counties around California, but rather invites cities and counties to create their own food vendor license programs. Cities and counties that choose to adopt a street vending program must allow their residents to sell food on the streets in any part of the city, with area restrictions permitted only when there are “objective health, safety, and welfare concerns.” Not only can street vendors not be limited to particular areas, they also can not be regulated as to how they operate their business. Just remember to obtain a license from your city or county to operate your street vending business before taking your food out onto the streets.

Health Codes

In addition to leaving licensing requirements to the local government, the new law also leaves health code requirements to the local government. Cities and counties can create their own health regulations and guidelines for street vendors to follow should they wish to sell food on the streets.

If you are considering opening a street vending business in light of the new law, and you want to make sure you abide by all laws as you start your new business, contact the attorneys at De Cardenas Law Group today to speak with a legal professional well-versed in this new law. Contact us online or at 626-577-6800 (Los Angeles) or 415-590-4869 (San Francisco) today to schedule an appointment with one of our business and food law attorneys.