By Jennifer KaplanBloomberg
Buying recreational marijuana becomes legal in California on Monday, but consumers hoping to score some that day in two of its biggest cities are in for a bummer.
Los Angeles and San Francisco are among many municipalities that won’t have their licenses ready by the time marijuana sales become legal on New Year’s Day. Dispensaries are required to have local authorization before they can receive state permission to operate under a law approved by voters in a November 2016 referendum.
“If people are looking to go out on Jan. 1 and purchase adult-use cannabis, I think we would preach patience, because not everybody is going to be ready,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control.
As of Thursday, the state had issued 60 licenses for medical retailers and 37 for adult recreational use, Traverso said. The regulatory body planned to work through the weekend to try to get as many stores licensed as possible, with the hope of providing permits to several hundred, he said.
Medical-marijuana stores, which have been legal in California for more than two decades, must receive new state permits to continue operating.
In California, shoppers thwarted in their attempt to buy state-sanctioned pot on Monday might decide it’s more convenient to keep doing it the old-fashioned way: on the black market, said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.
“If there are only 10 regulated dispensaries in the East Bay, and I live 45 minutes from one of them, I’m going to call my dealer or my unregulated delivery service, like I’ve done for the last five years,” Allen said.
Growers and manufacturers across the supply chain might find the unregulated market still ripe for business, Allen said. And while the new rules probably will come with increased