Monday, January 1 marked the first day of the legal sale of recreational cannabis in California. As such, retail shops selling cannabis opened their doors to customers, officially launching what is expected to be the largest legalized recreational cannabis market in the world.
Even before opening hours, hundreds of people already formed lines outside shops that have been granted license by the state government to sell the drug. And already expecting huge demand on opening day, store owners said that they have prepared for it and stocked up on their cannabis products.
California has issued permits to dozens of retailers so they could begin selling recreational pot this week. Several of these cannabis retailers are located in West Hollywood, Santa Ana, San Diego, Oakland, and in the Palm Spring area.
California is the sixth U.S. state to legalize sales of recreational cannabis. And as the most populous state in the country, its move to allow recreational pot is widely seen as a significant step towards mainstreaming weed in the U.S. What’s more, the opening of California’s recreational cannabis market is considered to be a huge milestone for the global cannabis industry.
Additionally, California’s cannabis market is projected to grow to $7 billion by 2020. This, according to New Frontier Data, surpasses the $6.6 billion of the entire country’s legal cannabis market in 2016.
Guidelines for cannabis retail stores
According to California’s commercial cannabis licensing guidelines, businesses should first secure local permits before applying for a temporary license from the state. State-issued temporary business licenses have a validity of 120 days. This four-month validity period will allow business owners to collect additional information necessary to obtain a permanent license, including insurance bonds, security plans, and business formation documents. This will also give the state enough time to review a business applicant’s qualifications and to conduct background checks. This temporary license may be extended.
Licensed cannabis retail stores can operate between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. They can also do deliveries as long as it is by their delivery employee. However, there should only deliver through enclosed automobiles, and not by bicycle or drone.
Additionally, medical cannabis dispensaries and retail stores should be located no less than 600 feet from a pre-existing school, day care center, or youth center. Cannabis window displays are also prohibited, while interior displays should not be visible to people outside the store.
Regulations for cannabis products
The state also put a limit on the THC content and shape of cannabis edibles to be sold. More specifically, cannabis edibles, both for medical and recreational purposes, should have only up to 10 mg of THC per serving size, with a maximum total of 100 mg in one package. Edibles should also not come in shapes that are appealing to children.
As for medical cannabis tinctures, concentrates, topicals, and other non-edible forms, THC content should be limited to 2,000 mg per package. Non-edible recreational cannabis, on the other hand, should contain only up to 1,000 mg of THC per package.
Regulations for purchasing cannabis products
According to the state’s guidelines, recreational cannabis customers can purchase only up to an ounce or 28.5 grams of non-concentrated products, 8 grams of concentrate, and six immature plants. Meanwhile, medical patients are allowed to purchase up to 8 ounces of cannabis.