California will launch the world's largest regulated commercial market for recreational marijuana on Monday, as dozens of newly licensed stores catering to adults who enjoy the drug for its psychoactive effects open for business up and down the state. MA and ME are on track to follow suit later this year.
Recreational cannabis sales officially begin in California today, but fewer than 100 adult-use retail licenses have been issued throughout the state - which may lead to long lines and out-of-stock issues for the rec stores able to open their doors on New Year's Day. Legal purchasing of marijuana, applicable to residents and non-residents, is expected to boost tourism and stimulate California's economy.
Marijuana became legal in California from Monday and users can now grow plants and buy legal cannabis products.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
However, the two largest cities in the state - Los Angeles and San Francisco -have not yet started issuing licences to sell cannabis commercially for recreational use.
But business will nearly certainly be brisk at newly permitted shops ready on Day One. Other places, including Fresno, Bakersfield and Kern County, outlawed recreational marijuana sales. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area. Hundreds more are expected to open throughout the state as the year progresses.
Medical patients can buy unlimited quantities, but must present a doctor's note and have purchased a medical ID card.
So-called recreational pot is now legal for adults 21 and older.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 and the pot industry has since become big business - even before Hollywood movies like The Big Lebowski and Pineapple Express took stoner humour to the mainstream.
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