While not all Golden State dispensaries had received their temporary licenses to start adult-use sales on New Year’s Day, the state’s legal commercial cannabis market still went live on Jan. 1, 2018, with California recreational cannabis sales commencing at approximately 100 retailers across the state.
“This is an historic day for the state of California,” said Lori Ajax, Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief, in a press release. “It marks the beginning of a legal cannabis marketplace that will be well regulated in order to protect consumers and maintain a level playing field for cannabis-related businesses. We are hopeful that we have put forth a model that other states will look to as an example when they head down the path to legalization.”
Dispensaries in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the Palm Springs Area and the San Francisco Bay Area conducted the majority of California recreational cannabis sales, as prospective retailers needed to have both city and state licenses to participate in the first day of sales.
Some dispensaries, like Berkley Patients Group and Harborside Health Center, not only won city and state licenses, but also enjoyed active support from current and former government officials.
“I am thankful to have such a strong local partner and passionate team of activists at Berkeley Patients Group, a Berkeley institution,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin in a press release. “Not only does it epitomize how a responsible cannabis dispensary should operate, but also shows that legalization and cannabis business can have a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
According to Green State, Henry Wykowski, a former federal prosecutor and Harborside’s attorney, showed up at Harborside in Oakland on the first day of California recreational cannabis sales and purchased a gram of Neville’s Purple cannabis.
As of Jan. 1, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued over 400 temporary licenses to recreational cannabis operators, including retailers, distributors, microbusinesses, labs and event organizers.
The California Department of Public Health is responsible for issuing commercial cannabis manufacturing licenses and the California Department of Food and Agriculture is responsible for issuing commercial cannabis cultivation licenses.
Temporary licenses are valid for 120 days, upon which the temporary licensee can apply for two 90-day extensions if the licensee has submitted an application for an annual license.