Recreational use of marijuana is officially legal in the State of California as of New Year’s Day — provided that consumers can find someone to sell it to them at licensed dispensaries, which are still in short supply.
On January 1, Proposition 64, which passed in November 2016, takes effect. But as Southern California Public Radio’s KPCC reports, only 88 dispensaries are licensed to sell marijuana across the state, with state and local authorities still struggling to refine regulations.
“[T]he Bureau of Cannabis Control will continue working through the weekend to process as many licenses as possible and will even issue licenses on New Year’s Day,” KPCC notes.
California already has a network of medical marijuana dispensaries, the legacy of an earlier wave of legalization, when the state was a pioneer. Today, the state lags behind others, which have already legalized the drug for recreational use. Governor Jerry Brown, whose views are far left on many issues, has long been skeptical of legalization. However, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, currently leading polls to succeed Brown after the elections later this year, is a proponent of legal marijuana.
Those retailers who are able to open their doors are planning to celebrate legalization on Jan. 1. For example, the Los Angeles Times notes: “The KindPeoples Collective in Santa Cruz plans to give out T-shirts to the first 420 people who show up to buy weed Monday.”
Other dispensaries have been adding staff, while entrepreneurs have been developing new products for the legalized retail market. In San Francisco, according to Bay Area public radio station KQED, foodies have already been experimenting with marijuana-infused dinners.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.