Forget ushering in the New Year by buying legal weed from a California dispensary as the clock strikes midnight. And while some shops should be selling recreational marijuana by the time you wake up New Year’s Day, you might have to drive a while to find one, no matter where you live.
The world’s biggest marijuana market will open for business three months from Sunday, Oct. 1, as marijuana sales for anyone 21 and older become legal in California.
Jan. 1 is also the day the first state licenses will be issued for every type of marijuana business, from cultivators of medical cannabis to distributors of recreational marijuana.
Voters passed Prop. 64 in November 2016 with the idea that key points of the law would be hammered out before Jan. 1, 2018. And now, after much conversation and negotiation, details on when sales will start, how businesses can apply for permits and how this will all be enforced are starting to trickle out.
But even these details aren’t set in stone, as the state continues to work out plans for a temporary licensing program that will keep California on track to certify businesses at the start of 2018.
Above all, it’s still unclear where Californians will be able to buy recreational marijuana, since state law gives cities and counties first say as to whether cannabis businesses will be allowed in their borders.
“The biggest thing is they will have to have local approval for conducting commercial cannabis activity,” Lori Ajax, chief of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, said of would-be marijuana retailers. “They will need (local approval) before the state can issue them a temporary license.”
San Diego has a city council vote on regulations for marijuana businesses scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3. City spokesman Paul Brencick Sr. said that as long as those policies are approved and certified the city hopes to issue local licenses for recreational shops and other businesses by the end of the year.
Santa Ana plans to update…