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Major Californian Cities Begin Issuing Licenses After Legalization





California’s recreational cannabis laws have been in place for less than three weeks, and many cities are embracing recreational cannabis business. From the farthest reaches north in San Francisco to the southernmost parts of the state like San Diego, California’s most populated areas are already opening up shop. Although there are countless cannabis business owners who are vying to obtain licenses and begin selling recreational cannabis, these are a few of the frontrunners of California’s burgeoning industry.

The local municipality licensing is essential for a complete state license for cannabis. Only a few municipalities in California were ready for the Jan. 1 date, including San Diego, who issued its first license last month. (Recreational cannabis dispensary Torrey Holistics received the first license in the state on Dec. 15). Other cities with businesses ready for Jan. 1 were Palm Desert, Santa Ana and Modesto.

San Francisco had several recreational cannabis businesses open for business last weekend, including Harvest on Geary. “I think it’s terrific. I am just thrilled to be a part of this monumental day in San Francisco cannabis history,” said Marty Higgins, owner and chief executive officer to the San Francisco Gate. Higgins is the owner and chief executive officer at Harvest on Geary. “We’re expecting to be very busy and to have a very large turnout. It’s going to be a festive atmosphere.”

Los Angeles county has been home to medical cannabis dispensaries since the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 passed. After the 2013 medical cannabis legalization occurred, dispensaries flourished under the immunity. Now, both medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries are legal, and the city projects that it will gain $50 million the first year of legalization. The city will give priority processing and assistance with licenses to low-income applicants and who were effected by cannabis arrests. “We need to ensure that our communities, and particularly communities of color . . . are not negatively impacted by this industry,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said to the Los Angeles Times last month.

The first medical cannabis license in Los Angeles went to Mother’s Nature Remedy Caregivers in Woodland Hills. “Now I will be legal as far as the state and the city is concerned, and I can continue to operate,” said owner David Slocum to LA Weekly. “I didn’t apply right off the bat for recreational. I’ve been a medicinal shop for 12 years, and I wanted to see the landscape and see what happens. Not that I don’t want to apply for adult, but I don’t want to apply and be the first black man arrested for it. Not state and not local but federally. There are only five black owners in the whole city. When I spoke with everybody, we all decided not to apply for a recreational right away but to apply for our medicinal first.” WHTC in West Hollywood also received the first recreational licensing in Los Angeles, which is its own municipality.


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