Customers crowded into marijuana dispensaries that opened early in the East Bay on Monday, the first day recreational marijuana became legal in California.
Some dispensaries in Berkeley and Oakland opened as early as 6 a.m. after being licensed in California and their respective cities for recreational sales following the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.
Underscoring the new legal status of the herb, a personage no less impressive than the mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Berkeley Patients Group on San Pablo Avenue.
“It’s an exciting moment. We worked really hard in the fall to be sure BPG was ready to open,” said Arreguin, who cut a green ribbon to officially open the dispensary to recreational sales.
People were waiting outside the door before BPG opened at 6 a.m., and the same was true art Purple Heart Patient Center on Fourth Street.
“We opened at 6 a.m. We had people waiting in line,” said Kell McKenzie, a team leader at Purple Heart.
Reached by telephone around 10 a.m., McKenzie said the store was crowded and the mood upbeat.
“It’s great seeing the new customers and they seem really excited about looking at the products,” McKenzie said.
Oakland’s Harborside dispensary opened at 6 a.m. The Harborside in San Jose opened at 9 a.m. Emails and phone calls to the dispensary and its chief executive were not returned.
While Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose signed off on various dispensaries to begin recreational sales starting Monday, other cities including San Francisco did not approve legislation for it in time for the start of the new year.
In San Francisco’s case, legislation was not signed until early December following lengthy debates over regulatory issues for the dispensaries.
Ultimately, the board opted for a 600-foot buffer zone around city schools and did not institute bans or caps for the number of dispensaries in each supervisorial district.
The City’s existing 45 medical marijuana dispensaries and delivery services will be able to begin recreational sales as early as Saturday.