Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

California legalises recreational marijuana use

California legalises recreational marijuana use

It has been legal to smoke marijuana in California since a proposition was approved in November 2016, but legal sales for recreation marijuana didn't begin until Monday.

Marijuana retailers in California will at first be allowed to sell the drug without any full regulations, but the state intends to step in later to test for potency, as well as the use of pesticides and other contaminants.

Two additional states - ME and MA - permit adults to legally possess and grow cannabis, but have yet to enact regulations permitting the plant's commercial cultivation and sale.

As of Monday, it is now legal to buy marijuana for recreational use in California.

Among the very first will be the Oakland-based Harborside dispensary, which has long ranked as the largest USA medical marijuana outlet. "People might actually realize weed isn't bad".

With California and its 39.5 million residents officially joining the pack, more than one-in-five USA residents now live in states where recreational cannabis is legal for purchase, even though cannabis is classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law.

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The legalisation is not expected to seriously affect the black market in cannabis with taxes and fees on retail marijuana amounting to a price increase of as much as 70% for consumers.

Nevertheless, the U.S. federal government continues to classify weed as a controlled substance, along with other drugs such as heroin and LSD. That 2016 initiative set January 1, 2018, as the day recreational sales would become legal.

That's because those two cities won't start issuing their permits until this week. The state's Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) says it will use that period to vet each application to determine whether the business qualifies for a permanent license, which will be valid for one year.

Despite having 11 medical marijuana dispensaries, the Vallejo City Council has only authorized they receive permits to continue selling medicinal cannabis. A 2016 Quinnipiac poll found that 56 percent of Florida voters are in favor of legalized use and possession of marijuana for adults.

The state also has issued licenses for cultivating marijuana, with one of the first going to CalWave Enterprises for an indoor growing operation of up to 5,000 square feet in Santa Cruz.

"For example Colorado, I think they've, since 2012, generated about a billion dollars in tax revenue from the sales of recreational marijuana", said Rauschenberger.

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