Legal Recreational Marijuana In California Goes Into Effect

by Kim Boateng Posted on January 1st, 2018

Los Angeles, California, USA : Adults who are at least 21 years old can now legally purchase recreational marijuana from select retail shops in California beginning today, Monday, Jan 1st, 2018, a milestone that instantly makes America’s most populous state the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace with a $7 billion projected value.

Under Prop 64, an initiative approved by voters in November 2017, retail outlets that sell recreational marijuana obtain a temporary adult-use retail license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state agency that oversees the industry. Many more retail outlets are expected open in the months to come to take advantage of california’s latest “gold rush”.

Silicon Valley billionaires heavily backed Prop. 64, particularly Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker, who donated more than $1 million to the November 2016 ballot measure.

California’s new recreational marijuana law allows adults 21 and older to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Adults can also grow up to six cannabis plants at home for personal use. It remains illegal to openly use marijuana in public, and smoking pot is banned anywhere that tobacco smoking is banned, so recreational consumers will have to enjoy their new rights in private. State rules also dictate that marijuana will not be sold between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

As of September, some 4,500 people had petitioned courts to change their marijuana-related sentences.

In addition, some local jurisdictions are giving priority or other assistance to marijuana business license applicants previously convicted of low-level marijuana offenses, or who come from low-income communities hit hard by harsh drug-war policies.

California produces vast amounts of marijuana (Cannabis, Ganja, Indian Hemp, Weed), and has done so for years. Now, more than 20 years after the state legalized medical marijuana, 28 other states allow cannabis for medical purposes. Eight states, including California, and the District of Columbia, have also legalized the plant for adult recreational purposes, but only Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Washington have functioning marketplaces. Massachusetts and Maine expect to begin sales sometime later next year.

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, but the Trump administration has made no high-profile moves against any state where pot is openly sold to adults.

That has store owners scrambling to erect billboards near Los Angeles International Airport and flooding bars with street marketers. California rules limit marijuana advertising, so dispensaries are getting creative in how they reach potential customers. Med Men, which sells medical cannabis but hopes to offer recreational pot come Monday, is wrapping 30 trucks with advertisements for its four existing high-end dispensaries. Cannabis firm American Green even bought an entire town — Nipton, California — to create a marijuana mecca.

Because California’s marijuana law requires all cannabis to arrive in stores pre-packaged, growers and distributers are frantically developing branding and packaging to set their wares apart.

Like other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, California is creating a network of privately owned but tightly regulated pot shops that will offer shoppers a wide variety of products, from the smokeable “flower” most people are familiar with to cannabis-infused foods called edibles, and increasingly popular marijuana extracts used for vaping. The state requires quality testing and will regulate the kinds of pesticides and other chemicals used in growing.

Canada introduced legislation in April, setting up plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use by July 2018.

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