Customers crowded into marijuana dispensaries that opened early Monday in the East Bay, the first day recreational marijuana became legal in California.
Some pharmacies in Berkeley and Oakland opened as early as 6 a.m. after being licensed for recreational sales in California and their respective cities following the approval of Proposition 64 in November 2016.
To underline the herb’s new legal status, a character no less impressive than Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Berkeley Patients Group on San Pablo Avenue.
“It is an exciting moment. We worked very hard in the fall to make sure BPG was ready to open,” said Arreguin, who cut a green ribbon to officially open the pharmacy to recreational sales.
There were people waiting at the door before BPG opened at 6am, and the same was true of the Purple Heart Patient Center on Fourth Street.
“We opened at 6 a.m. There were people waiting in line,” said Kell McKenzie, team leader at Purple Heart.
McKenzie was reached by phone around 10am and said the store was full and the mood was good.
“It’s great to see the new customers and they seem really excited about looking at the products,” McKenzie said.
Oakland’s Harborside Pharmacy open at 6am. The Harborside in San Jose opens at 9:00 AM. Emails and phone calls to the pharmacy and the director went unanswered.
While Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose signed several pharmacies to begin recreational sales starting Monday, other cities, including San Francisco, failed to pass the legislation in time for the start of the new year.
In the case of San Francisco, the legislation was not signed until early December after lengthy discussions over regulatory issues for the pharmacies.
Ultimately, the board opted for a 600-foot buffer zone around city schools and did not impose a ban or limit on the number of pharmacies in each surveillance district.
The city’s existing 45 medical marijuana dispensaries and delivery services could begin recreational sales as early as Saturday.