San Diego became the first major urban area in the state to prepare for the recreational marijuana sales allowed under Prop. 64, the cannabis legalization ballot measure approved by voters in November, as reported by The San Diego Union Tribune. It is legal for all adults 21 and over in California to consume, grow, and possess cannabis, but the only places where it can be bought legally are existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Retail pot stores may open as early as January 1, 2018. Cities and counties need to allow dispensaries, and state legislators need to create statewide guidelines for recreational cannabis farming, sales, and testing.
January 1st as the first day of sales is now looking vague, as some state legislators have called for a delay in order to have more time to create guidelines. However, as San Diego’s City Council proved, less than two months is plenty of time to get it done. All 15 of San Diego’s current licensed medical cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana as well, once the state proposals come through, the newspaper reported. Any future dispensaries will also be able to sell to all consumers over the age of 21.
Later this year, the council will deliberate legalizing commercial cannabis farming, distribution, and lab testing. Police had recommended that all of the above be banned “based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.” The basis for those worries was judged and believed to be weak. Particularly weak, considering 62% of San Diego voters approved Prop. 64, and the city could rake in almost $30 million per year in tax revenue. San Diego is the first major city in California to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana, which means the city is ahead of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento in getting ready for pot’s legal future.