Live music. Free T-shirts. A “Fweedom” celebration with mystery prize boxes worth up to $500, and a shot at a behind-the-scenes tour.
Marijuana legalization arrives Monday in California with lots of hoopla, but only a handful of cities will initially have retail outlets ready to sell recreational pot.
By Thursday afternoon, California had issued only 42 retail licenses. Another 150 applications were pending and regulators planned to work a second straight weekend to review them.
Los Angeles and San Francisco were late to approve local regulations, meaning no recreational pot shops there will open their doors Monday.
The lucky few outlets with licenses — mainly in San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Palm Springs area and Santa Cruz — think they have an edge being first out of the gate.
But excitement about California joining the growing list of states and Washington, D.C., with legal recreational weed is tempered with the stresses of ensuring shelves are stocked in the face of uncertain demand.
The state issued its first 20 retail licenses two weeks ago and an additional 22 trickled out since, some for already established medical marijuana businesses that have thrived in California for two decades and will continue.
Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, said a dozen employees were vetting applications to “issue as many licenses as we can” in the coming days.
The temporary permits represent just a sliver of the thousands of licenses expected to eventually be issued for retail recreational sales. Local permits are a prerequisite for the state licenses, and many cities — including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Long Beach — have yet to issue any local rules, putting huge swaths of the state on the sidelines for opening day.
The Palm Springs area had nine of the