Pot Legalized in California on New Year's Day - Rolling Stone
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Pot Legalized in California on New Year’s Day

Adult-use marijuana sales are now legal, 20 years after California voters approved medicinal marijuana

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Recreational marijuana sales are now legal in California – but there's still plenty of kinks to be worked out.

Mathew Sumner/AP

California sold its first doses of legal recreational marijuana Monday, twenty years after its residents first voted to legalize pot for medicinal purposes.

Last year, California voters made it legal for adults over the age of 21 to grow, possess and use marijuana, but selling pot for recreational purposes was still illegal prior to the New Year.

According to The Associated Press, however, the legal sale of recreational marijuana is still limited; only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open Monday, with dispensaries concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.

Los Angeles and San Francisco do not yet have legal dispensaries, as local regulations were not approved in time for them to issue the city licenses necessary for businesses to obtain state permits.

Last month, Los Angeles officials announced that the city will begin accepting license applications on January 3rd, and may take several weeks to process, meaning that many long-established businesses may have to shutter in the interim as they wait for approval.

In the meantime however, the New York Post reports that attorneys have advised businesses in that situation to legally sell medicinal marijuana as “collectives” until they are able to obtain their state and local licenses.

(Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside are three of the communities in California that have implemented laws forbidding any recreational marijuana sales in their areas.)

California’s historic decision means that it joins Colorado, Washington, Washington D.C., Alaska, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon in the growing list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana – in all, 29 states have some sort of marijuana laws in place.


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