California Finally Issues First Licenses to Sell Legalized Marijuana


This week, California issued temporary licenses to a handful of cannabis companies in the first wave of licenses expected to be released ahead of Jan. 1.

The small number of recreational pot licenses — and the quickly vanishing year — mean that choices will likely be limited for consumers looking to ring in 2018 with a legal purchase on Jan. 1. But it seems that things are finally set to begin.

Companies expect that it will take time for society to adjust to marijuana's legality, and for the new market to settle in.

Gardot said she's excited to be moving in a new direction.

Khalil Moutawakkil, the director of KindPeoples, said that he is overjoyed about ending cannabis prohibition, which disproportionally punished people of color and filled crowded jails with otherwise law-abiding citizens.

He sees recreational marijuana taking off like the wine and craft beer industries.

Customers go through an electronic security gate manned by a guard. Once inside, the business looks like a stylish pharmacy with wood floors and Christmas decorations.

California's Bureau of Cannabis Control issued the first business licenses for selling and transporting recreational pot.

"The taboo part is slowly going to be removed and this is going to be like any other business", Hall said.

The route to legalization began last year when voters approved Proposition 64, which opened the way for recreational pot sales to adults in the nation's most populous state, home to one in eight Americans. That is really going to change marijuana going forward.

Still, regulators cautioned that the supply is still low.

In 2015, California passed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), composed of three bills that "collectively established a comprehensive state regulatory framework for the licensing and enforcement of cultivation, manufacturing, retail sale, transportation, storage, delivery and testing of medicinal cannabis in California".

A patchwork of rules has emerged with some cities embracing legal sales and others banning commercial pot activity.

As marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government, major banks are leery to do business with dispensaries and growers so much of the business is conducted in cash.

In a press release, KindPeoples said that their microbusiness license allows them to vertically integrate one of their locations, and that the manufacturing license will allow them to continue producing their in-house brand, KindExtracts. So there's a state sales tax that's 7.25 (percent) here in Shasta County and then the 15 percent excise tax.