While California legalized pot for medical use in 1996, it only legalized recreational pot on Monday. Californians were justified with the celebratory blunts, fanfare and all other celebrations to mark the event as to some believe the state has taken too long to legalize recreational pot, given some other states including Alaska had already done it.
Many businesses have not obtained weed licenses yet for various reasons. In some cities and counties, the process of licensing has not yet finalized, while others have banned sale of recreational pot in their areas of jurisdiction. Also, some of the existing marijuana dispensaries that were used with to the lax weed laws for medical marijuana are finding it hard to comply with the new stricter laws for recreational pot.
As this industry is expected to grow to an estimated $7 billion annually, many large businesses are getting interested. If big businesses invest in this industry there will more supply which will lower prices and push some small businesses out of business.
There was celebration all over the state by businesses, growers, dispensaries, and other industry stakeholders.
In Santa Cruz, one weed shop hung a banner proclaiming that weed prohibition was over, while another in San Diego handed out T-shirts with weed-friendly labels. Indeed, the first 2018 recreational pot sales turned the Golden State greener.
Several ribbon-cutting events to mark the occasion were witnessed across the state on New Year’s Day. Ironically, California is also the leading US state in production of illegal weed and authorities have failed to bring an end to this problem as the black market features a very large, complex network. Customers waiting in long queues in dispensaries were greeted with food and freebies as this a very important day for stoners.
Kimberly Cargile who works with an established Sacramento weed shop as a top management officer, was so happy that he lacked proper words to describe his feeling, saying he was relieved, happy and tense!
Cargile’s shop specializes on Therapeutic Alternative and wanted to welcome recreational weed in style, so on New Year’s Day, they opened at 9 a.m. with a red ribbon cutting event to celebrate. To some people, cutting through red taped is a symbolic gesture to usher in a new era.
As fewer than 100 shops had managed to get state weed licenses, the sales were brisk. However, in some places, stoners were very unhappy as weed-shops were closed because they didn’t have licenses.
California’s top weed regulator Alex Traverso said they worked through the festive season so they could process the largest number of licenses possible before the big day. He reported that they managed to process around 1,400 pending licenses for distributors, retail sellers, testing facilities and other businesses in the cannabis industry.
In Riverside and Fresno weed selling is outlawed, while in San Francisco and Los Angeles regulators have not finalized the legalization process. In such places, stoners encountered reefer sadness.
At both local and state levels, regulators have a lot of potential work to make things work as planned for the weed industry, with their top priorities being public safety, environment protection, and tax collection. The California government expects to be collecting $1 billion in tax revenues a few years from now.
ShowGrow’s chief compliance officer Charles Boldwyn has cautioned that delays in issuing state and local cannabis licenses may create a shortage of the products for consumers as now the demand is higher than usual. ShowGrow opened for business on Monday.
Bolwyn also said that red tape is problematic in the supply chain as the number of qualifying growers is only hundreds while the industry used to have thousands. Until the issues are resolved, marijuana consumers will experience a shortage.
There were many signs that weed was about to go fully legal in California before the first hour of New Year’s Day.
Just before the New Year’s Eve, the Californian highways flashed signs that warned motorists against stoning and driving, as they will get a DUI. Weedmaps, a phone app for stoners ran a full-page advert on Dec 31, in the Los Angeles Times asking stoners to smile for weed has gone fully legal.
In cannabis dispensaries near me that were selling weed on New Year’s Day, former licensed weed users queued with hippies and pot-heads lined up with first-time weed enthusiasts that wanted to try stoning.
Heather Sposeto, 50, is not a stoner but she visited a Sacramento pot shop with her boyfriend, who is a hardcore stoner.