New Year's Day marked the start of the legal sale of recreational marijuana in California, but only in cities and counties that allow it and only at licensed stores.
The dispensaries in Sacramento that received all the approval needed to open Jan. 1 saw long lines and excited customers Monday. For many people who have been smoking weed for years, walking into a store and buying it felt a little surreal.
"I've been looking forward to this day for awhile," said David Angeles, who visited All About Wellness in Midtown to buy weed legally for the first time in his life.
"I've probably been smoking about over 20 years, so it's kind of like a day of reckoning," he said. "It never made sense to me anyway that alcohol was legal and marijuana wasn't."
The state's Bureau of Cannabis Control issued a recreational cannabis storefront license to 100 businesses statewide. While that number will grow in coming weeks, for now, Sacramento is home to more than a tenth of them.
11 Sacramento dispensaries received a state license for recreational (adult-use) sales in time for Jan. 1 and 23 Sacramento dispensaries received a state license for medicinal sales. Prior to Jan. 1, Sacramento had 30 medicinal cannabis dispensaries, meaning seven of those businesses have not yet received the approval needed to open under the new law.
Over at A Therapeutic Alternative in East Sacramento, Crystal and Donell Sanders waited in line for an hour to buy recreational marijuana.
The wait, they said, was worth it.
"The line was a little long but it was cool. Nobody was fighting. Nobody was kicking or screaming," Mrs. Sanders said. "Good people inside."
"One hour, good parking out here," Mr. Sanders said. "I believe legalizing it will bring down a lot of drama and violence in this world."
A regulated industry means the products at dispensaries are now coming only from licensed California growers and manufacturers.
"You're not just getting it on the streets anymore. It's safer and you know exactly what's in it," Angeles said.
But because the law allows cities and counties to opt out of legal weed, some growers are in counties that now ban their business.
Kimberly Cargile has been the director at A Therapeutic Alternative since 2012.
"At this point, there are not very many cities or counties that are actually permitting, so we do have a limited supply," she said. "I'm hoping that local governments will enact the will of the voters who passed Proposition 64 and provide their citizens with quality-controlled, regulated cannabis."
Phil Blurton, owner of All About Wellness, is concerned about his supply, too.
"About 75 percent of the flowers that we sell here - the cannabis, you know, that you smoke - about 75 percent of that comes from Placer County and Nevada County, and they have an ordinance against cultivation," he explained. "So all those people up there, we can no longer purchase cannabis from them anymore, until they change that."
It's part of the law that's worrisome for those in the industry and for customers like Damian Hoag, who bought recreational cannabis at River City Phoenix on Monday.
"I'm in Yolo County at Woodland. Our county hasn't rolled out anything yet," he said. "I think it would be good for the whole state economy, especially the poorer farming communities that would really benefit from this."
While Jan. 1 is a mile-marker, those in the business say California's legal cannabis industry still has a lot to figure out.
The city of Sacramento has several other cannabis-related businesses the Bureau of Cannabis Control has licensed. Ohana Gardens is a delivery service licensed to sell both medicinal and adult-use cannabis. Cura CA, LLC is licensed to distribute both kinds of cannabis. And Sequoia Analytical Labs is licensed as a testing laboratory.
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