Recreational pot now available in California


Thousands of Californians rang in 2018 by lining up at dispensaries across the Golden State to buy recreational marijuana.

Golden State voters opted to make purchasing recreational pot legal when they green-lighted it on Nov. 8, 2016 by approving Proposition 64 with 57 percent of the vote. It is now permissible for those 21 years of age and older to buy an ounce of pot and to cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants per household. In addition, all pot must now be tracked in the state from the time it is a seed until it is sold.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control issued emergency regulations for recreational marijuana in November. Temporary retail sales licenses began to be issued in December. To date, the BCC has issued 100 of the licenses to shops and microbusinesses, which were permitted to open as early as 6 a.m. Dec. 31.

You couldn't buy pot in every town and city in California, though. Hollywood, Los Angeles and San Francisco delayed the start of the sales while lawmakers work their way through some legal issues.

Many California lawmakers spent the day shuttling across their districts, talking to both recreational pot sellers and purchasers. The lawmakers said they would be watching closely to see if the fees to sell were too high and whether or not small growers would be able to continue to operate.

Voters made medical marijuana legal in the state back in 1996, when Proposition 215 was passed. That measure required pot users to have a doctor's okay to buy the drug and only nonprofit collectives could sell it with approval from a local authority.

Recreational pot sales are anticipated to generate a windfall for local governments across California and the state. Taxes of 10 to 15 percent on purchases could generate hundreds of millions of additional dollars.

Some customers who were making legal purchases were hesitant to provide the news media with their names, saying they worried that if their bosses found out they were using cannabis it would hurt their careers.

California now joins Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada as the only states currently allowing the sale of recreational pot.