Recreational sales of marijuana became legal January 1 in California. The420 Central in Santa Ana opened its doors at 7 a.m. on January 1, and Robert Taft Jr., the founder of 420 Central, said, “We were bombarded!”
Within two hours of opening, over 100 customers made their first legal purchases, Los Angeles Times reports. As customers left the shop, Taft said to them, “Enjoy your new freedom!”
Hundreds of potential recreational marijuana retailers throughout California, such as in Los Angeles and San Francisco, are still awaiting temporary license approval to sell marijuana. But up in Berkeley,were ready. Berkeley Patients Group opened at 6 a.m. and had a line extended around the block.
Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Senator Nancy Skinner were present to cut the green ribbon to mark the first sale in Berkeley. Some of Berkeley Patients Group’s customers came up from the Central Valley area and the Sierra foothills to make their first legal purchases.
Sean Luse, COO of Berkeley Patients Group said, “I’d say the crowd size is about three or four times what we would typically see. Now that it’s mainstream and open to anyone 21-plus, you have a different dynamic. People are coming in groups or as families – it feels festive today.”
Some waited as long as 40 minutes at Mankind Cooperative in San Diego where commemorative shirts were handed out saying “A giant leap for mankind” and depicting men on the moon.
Cathy Bliss of Mankind Cooperative said, “We’re insane down here. And it’s still going on, girlfriend.”
Customers of all ages came into shops to make purchases. Many, including Lucas Starr, were skeptical about marijuana before trying it themselves. Even medical marijuana users are happy to see the stigma surrounding marijuana begin to fade away.
Judy Malgeri, a 65-year-old medical marijuana patient said, “It’s about time. Arrested for a joint? That’s so sad. It’s a fruit of the Earth.”
One customer hadn’t used marijuana or anything associated in quite some time. He indicated that he remembered enjoying edibles. As he approached his budtender, he said, “It’s been a while.” He was laughing as he said it, but the budtender reminded him that he’s always welcome in the shop. The man kept his sunglasses on and as a reporter approached him as he left, he said, “Oh my God! No, I’m not here.”
While not everyone making a legal purchase is completely comfortable, time will change that. It’s something new and the reality of being able to make a legal marijuana purchase hasn’t set in yet.
Taft said, “Weed the people should be proud. Red and blue turns to green when we come together. We can change anywe want.”