BRIAN MELLEY and KATHLEEN RONAYNE, Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — From a pot shop in Santa Cruz that hung a banner proclaiming “Prohibition is Over!” to one in San Diego handing out T-shirts showing the first moon landing and declaring a “giant leap for mankind,” the Golden State turned a shade greener with its first sales of recreational marijuana.
Ceremonial ribbon cuttings marked the occasion Monday as the nation’s biggest producer of illicit marijuana moved from the shadows toward a regulated market. Freebies and food greeted those who waited in long lines to get their hands on weed with names like “Oh Geezus” and “Banana Breath.”
“I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m relieved,” exclaimed Kimberly Cargile, director of a Sacramento shop that has sold medical pot since 2009.
Cargile’s shop, A Therapeutic Alternative, opened at 9 a.m. with the celebratory cutting of a red ribbon — a symbolic gesture that could be seen as a nod to those who cut through red tape in time to open the doors to a new era.
First-day sales were brisk in shops lucky enough to score one of the roughly 100 state licenses issued so far. But would-be customers in some of the state’s largest cities encountered reefer sadness.
Riverside and Fresno outlawed sales and Los Angeles and San Francisco did not act soon enough to authorize shops to get state licenses by New Year’s Day.
California’s state and local governments still have a lot of work ahead to get the massive industry running that is projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue within several years.
Charles Boldwyn, chief compliance officer of ShowGrow in Santa Ana, which opened to retail customers Monday, said he is concerned that a delay in local and state approvals could create shortages of products for