IJ Blazes New Trails for West Coast Cooks

February 1, 2024

Sparkling beaches, evergreen forests, and even a slower pace of life might come to mind when thinking of the West Coast. One thing that typically doesn’t: a friendly regulatory environment for small businesses. That part of the country is often synonymous with overly burdensome regulations, making it incredibly difficult and expensive for budding entrepreneurs to succeed.

But here at IJ, we don’t shy away from big challenges—which is why, when the call for expanded freedoms for homemade food entrepreneurs came from California and Oregon last year, IJ answered. 

Our grassroots activists successfully advocated for an expansion to Oregon’s law that allows the sale of homemade, shelf-stable foods (also known as “cottage foods”). Effective January 1, Oregon passed a bill that, among other things, more than doubles the state’s cap on gross annual cottage food sales for individual producers. 

We also beat long odds to expand California’s Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations program—a trailblazing program that allows people to run tiny restaurants from their own homes. As in Oregon, we worked with a diverse coalition on a bill to drastically increase allowable sales. That bill passed unanimously in the Legislature and went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature in July, allowing hardworking families to begin earning more money on the spot. 

Of course, our work is never done—neither state should limit entrepreneurs’ earnings at all. But these two key victories in states not usually thought of as supportive of small businesses demonstrate IJ’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and our unwavering commitment to fight the good fight on behalf of entrepreneurs everywhere—especially where others might be afraid to bite off more than they can chew.

Subscribe to get Liberty & Law magazine direct to your mailbox!

Sign up to receive IJ's bimonthly magazine, Liberty & Law, along with breaking news updates about the Institute for Justice's fight to protect the rights of all Americans.