January 1st was the first-day recreational marijuana was legalized in California, but customers hoping to be in line to get legal weed this week may be sorely disappointed. Some of the larger cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco don't have their licenses yet and will not be able to sell marijuana on opening day.
State laws require dispensaries to have local authorization and licensing to be able to operate and many of the dispensaries have not been issued their licenses yet. Adults looking to purchase marijuana will need to have patience while shops are getting up and running, receiving their inventories, and procuring the necessary licenses.
So far, there are 60 licenses that have been issued for medical marijuana and 37 for recreational marijuana. Several hundred stores are still awaiting their permits and regulatory bodies have committed to working as hard as possible to get these stores operating legally.
California is the world's 6th largest market for marijuana and sales are expected to reach almost $4 billion in 2018 and more than $5 billion the following year. The entire recreational marijuana industry is poised to make $50 billion by 2026, however more states legalizing marijuana will impact that number tremendously.
Because the marijuana industry is taking off rather slowly the legal way, the black market is still set to be the main source of marijuana sales in California, especially in larger cities. San Francisco will allow medical dispensaries to sell recreationally beginning January 5th.
West Hollywood may see sales beginning by January 2nd or 3rd, but many other cities will see weeks, if not months, of waiting periods to get licensing for dispensaries that are solely recreational.
New regulations have also shut down dispensaries in LA where there were once more than 1,700 shops, but only 139 of them were legal.
The illegal shops will see crackdowns and closures, forcing customers to find new retailers and possibly waiting even longer to purchase marijuana as dispensaries will be very rare in the first months of the year.
1. California rolls its own recreational pot sales out for 2018. Retrieved January 02, 2018 from http://www.abc10.com/news/local/california-rolls-its-own-recreational-pot-sales-out-for-2018/504137959