California bars and nightclubs must provide drug testing tools starting July 1

Starting July 1st this year, a new law will take effect that will impact bars and nightclubs in California. AB1310 will require establishments with a Type 48 license (bars and nightclubs that do not serve food), to provide drug test tools and to post signage warning customers about drink spiking. 

This new legislation for bars and nightclubs is an effort to prevent sexual assault. 

The bill was introduced by Josh Lowenthal – an assembly member out of Long Beach who also owns three restaurants and says this is a public safety effort to prevent sexual assault. 

The new law will require signage and for the bar or club to provide test strips for customers who request them.

In a video presentation to the Assembly, the 69th District Assembly member Lowenthal said, "We have a crisis that’s taking place that’s resulting in sexual assault, that’s targeting primarily women and members of the LGBTQ communities.’’

FILE - A bartender makes a drink at a cocktail bar in Milan, Italy. (Photo by: De Simone Lorenzo/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

FILE - A bartender makes a drink at a cocktail bar in Milan, Italy. (Photo by: De Simone Lorenzo/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

As a parent of three daughters, he knows that bars and nightclubs can be high risk venues for getting ‘roofied.’ and he says all too often, the crime is underreported. 

Lowenthal said, "By way of example, I have members of my staff that have been roofied, members of the legislative body that have been roofied." 

Often times, late at night, it can be difficult to tell if someone is drunk or has had their drink spiked. Lowenthal said, "Due to the challenges of addressing and prosecuting this crime after the crime has taken place, this is a common sense way to curb instances of drugging." 

The law affects bars and nightclubs that ‘do not’ sell food. There are 2,400 establishments that this new law will affect, according to the Department of Alcoholic and Beverage Control.

"It requires bars and nightclubs that hold a Title 48 license to offer drug-testing kits to patrons and to post clear signage about these test kits," Devin Blankenship, Public Information Officer for the California Department of Alcoholic and Beverage Control said. 

Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal shared that this is a low-cost way for bar and nightclub owners to keep their patrons safe. He said, "It can be as simple as coasters that have test strips on them. You could put a few drops of your drink on them, to see if there’s GBH or Ketamine in your drink."   

Signage designed to warn customers about drink spiking is one of the requirements of the new law. Signs must be posted throughout bars and nightclubs as part of the new law. The establishments must make test strips available, either for free or for a nominal fee to customers who request them.

Test strips have been on the market for a few years and have been distributed at colleges, universities and the US military. Bars around the Bay Area offer these testing tools in the form of strips, straws and coasters.

California is the first state in the country to enact this law that goes into effect this summer. 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at