California pot shops report steady crowds - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

California pot shops report steady crowds

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES -

The Latest on recreational marijuana sales in California (all times local):
  
1:10 p.m.
  
The manager of a cannabis dispensary in Sacramento says crowds are good for the first day of legal sales of recreational pot in California, but not as big as for stoner-favorite holidays like 4/20.
  
Shayna Schonauer, the regional manager of the RCP Sacramento dispensary, says Monday's crowds meet her expectations. She says the pace Monday was not super-overwhelming.
  
The dispensary, in a warehouse-style building, saw a range of customers from regular medical users, to recreational smokers who buy on the black market, to those who had limited familiarity with marijuana, Schonauer said.
  
A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
  
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12:10 p.m.
  
California's Bureau of Cannabis Control is continuing to review applications and approve licenses after retail sales of marijuana became legal on the New Year's Day holiday.
  
Spokesman Alex Traverso says he isn't aware of any problems at the roughly 100 shops around the state that began selling pot Monday.
  
Traverso says he expects Los Angeles and San Francisco to approve applications this week so the state can issue permits.
  
There's a backlog of about 1,400 permit applications for retail shops, testing labs, distributors and other businesses.
  
Traverso says that because Los Angeles is the biggest market in the state, some of those shops will be approved more quickly than others waiting in line.
  
With the shops licensed so far, Traverso says there is a good distribution of locations for people to buy recreational weed if they want it.
  
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11:45 a.m.
  
Heather Sposeto came to Sacramento's Northstar Holistic Collective with her boyfriend, Matthew Wilcox, to check out the hype around California's newly legalized marijuana.
  
The 50-year-old Sposeto doesn't smoke pot, but said she's considering starting now that it became legal at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
  
She said being in the dispensary, with counters of options ranging from chocolate to bud, felt "surreal."
  
Wilcox purchased some pot after perusing the options. The 53-year-old smokes recreationally almost daily but had never been in a dispensary. He said given the price, he's likely to continue purchasing through his personal connections.
  
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11:10 a.m.
  
Some California smokers say they'll likely continue buying marijuana on the black market even though cannabis is now legal in the state.
  
Travis Lund bought some pot at Sacramento's Northstar Holistic Collective on Monday morning after working an overnight shift.
  
The 34-year-old said he'd been looking forward to buying his first legal weed. But in the future, Lund says, he'd consider trips to the dispensary - where he can buy higher quality cannabis - as more of a treat.
  
Lund says he's glad pot is now legal in California, but he'll be able to buy it cheaper on the black market.
  
A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m.
  
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10:15 a.m.
  
Customers who lined up early to purchase recreational marijuana legally for the first time in California say they're happy cannabis is now regulated.
  
Sixty-one-year-old Ellen St. Peter and her 23-year-old son, Bryce, were among the first customers Monday at the ShowGrow dispensary in Santa Ana.
  
Ellen St. Peter says in the past she took risks to buy pot and she's glad Bryce can now buy it safely.
  
To the north in Oakland, Jeff Deakin waited all night outside Harborside dispensary with his wife and dog. The 66-year-old says it's a big deal that they can buy cannabis while feeling safe and secure, without having to make the purchase in a back alley.
  
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9:45 a.m.
  
In California's capital city, about 25 people gathered for a red ribbon cutting outside of A Therapeutic Alternative, a store that's been selling marijuana medically since 2009.
  
Mike Shorrow was the store's first customer, purchasing more than 4 grams of marijuana, dubbed "Red Dragon" and "Ingrid." The 63-year-old says he started smoking marijuana decades ago for pleasure but now uses it for medical purposes too. He spent nearly $100, a price he called high but worth it to avoid buying on the black market.
  
Fifty-year-old Kathleen Santos waited in line so she could be on "the forefront" of California's legalization efforts. She's been purchasing marijuana with a medical card at the dispensary for several years. She doesn't agree with the high taxation, but says she's becoming more adventurous with the types of marijuana that she tries now that the industry is more heavily regulated.
  
The shop is only letting 19 people in at a time for security reasons, and requires everyone to sign paperwork to become a member.
  
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7:00 a.m.
  
Attorneys advising a group of Los Angeles dispensaries have concluded that those businesses can continue to legally sell medicinal marijuana as "collectives," until they obtain local and state licenses under California's new system of legal pot.
  
Los Angeles officials announced late last month that the city will not begin accepting license applications until Jan. 3 - and it might take weeks before any are issued. That led to widespread concern that long-established businesses would have to shut down during the interim.
  
Jerred Kiloh of the United Cannabis Business Association says his group hopes to continue to provide patient access to medicinal marijuana.
  
The status of the Los Angeles shops highlights broad confusion over the new state law, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
  
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6:45 a.m.
  
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony as his city began selling marijuana legally on New Year's Day.
  
The mayor was joined by state Sen. Nancy Skinner as pot sales began early Monday at Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the nation.
  
Customers began lining up before dawn to be among the first to purchase legal marijuana in state.
  
A law allowing California's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m.
  
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5:45 a.m.
  
About 100 people are lined up in the parking lot of the Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California.
  
They're waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m. Monday so that they can be among the first customers to buy legal pot in the state.
  
The crowd sipped coffee and munched doughnuts, braving overnight temperatures in the mid-40s (around 6 degrees Celsius).
  
The dispensary says the first customers will receive special gifts. Harborside is one of about 90 California businesses that received state licenses to open on New Year's Day.
  
A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m.
  
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12:40 a.m.
  
Some Californians are raising blunts instead of glasses as they usher in the new year.
  
A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
  
Johnny Hernandez, a tattoo artist from Modesto, was celebrating New Year's Eve by smoking "Happy New Year blunts" with his cousins.
  
Hernandez, who is a medical marijuana user, says legalizing recreational pot is "something we've all been waiting for."
  
The 29-year-old says he also hoped that the legalization of recreational, adult-use marijuana will help alleviate a stigma some believe still surrounds marijuana use.
  
About 90 businesses received state licenses to open on New Year's Day. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.
  
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12 a.m.
  
The arrival of the new year in California brings with it broad legalization of marijuana.
  
The law comes two decades after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana.
  
So-called recreational pot is now legal for adults 21 and older. Individuals can grow up to six plants and possess as much as an ounce.
  
Finding a retail outlet to buy non-medical pot in California won't be easy, at least initially. Only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open on New Year's Day. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.
  
Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the many cities where recreational pot won't be available right away. Other places, including Fresno, Bakersfield and Kern County, outlawed recreational marijuana sales.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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