On January 1st, recreational sales of cannabis went into effect for California, though not all cities and counties were prepared or participating. Some cities, including the state’s largest markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, had not finished the licensing process. Other cities, like Riverside and Fresno, have decided to block recreational sales altogether. Even though the recreational sale and use of the drug are now legal, authorities are cautioning people to remember that driving under the influence of marijuana is still very much against the law. ABC News reports on the first day of recreational sales.
While it was not exactly like scenes from the propaganda flick Reefer Madness, those able to find dispensaries selling the drug lined up early to celebrate and get freebies and attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Some early customers got joints for a penny and free T-shirts.
In the shops lucky enough to score one of the 100 state licenses so far, sales were brisk. Customers in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco were out of luck, as neither city had authorized shops in time to get licenses. Citizens in Fresno and Riverside might find themselves driving to other jurisdictions for their recreational cannabis – these two cities have blocked sales altogether.
Ironically, California was the first state to ban “loco-weed” in 1913 but was also the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 1996. In 2016, voters decided to follow states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon who voted to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control still has some 1,400 pending license applications for retail sales. Due to Los Angeles being the largest market, licenses for those shops may go to the front of the line.
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