[JAN. 5 UPDATE: Six San Francisco stores will open Jan. 6.]
Legal cannabis will and won’t be where you’d expect New Year’s Day.
The launch of legal commercial marijuana sales commences January 1, and several retail outlets should see long lines. You can go shopping in Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Eureka, Ukiah and a few other places.
Other major cities are mired in red tape, thus preventing local licensing. Most notably, San Francisco and Los Angeles will not have adult use marijuana for sale for weeks or months. And the rest of the state is sitting out commercial cannabis for now. Check your area on our map.
Great Places To Get Legal Cannabis in California
The East Bay — Mixing population and retail options, the East Bay of the San Francisco-Bay Area will be where the party is on New Year’s Day, with dueling clubs vying to sell the first legal grams, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and free gifts. Harborside in Oakland opens at 6 a.m., so does Berkeley Patients Group.
San Jose — One of California’s most populous cities also benefited from having an advanced medical cannabis regulatory regime they could apply to adult use sales. Major stores like Harborside San Jose will be open Jan. 1 at 9 a.m., along with gems like Caliva, and mom and pop darling Buddy’s.
Santa Cruz — Several stores including KindPeoples will be open in the city of Santa Cruz, which rolled out the welcome mat to cannabis commerce, after voters strongly endorsed the idea.
San Diego — Hats off to surf city San Diego for besting bigger, more ‘progressive’ civic brethren to legal recreational sales. At least six outlets there have state licenses to engage in adult use sales, including Torrey Holistics and Urbn Leaf.
The Desert — the truly remarkable story of the 2018 roll-out is the winter desert bloom in legal cannabis, nourished by an extremely favorable business climate. Stores should be open in Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs. . . . Desert Hot Springs has more legal herb than Los Angeles.
Where not to look …
Los Angeles — Another black eye for the city of Angels, officials there remain behind the regulatory curve some 21 years after voters first legalized medical cannabis in California. No stores will be open for weeks or months as regulators play catch-up. Look to West Hollywood and Santa Ana.
Small, relatively conservative towns — More than 90 percent of cities and counties in California will sit out launch day and those most disinterested are small, rural, relatively conservative towns still leery of cannabis commerce.
Keep GreenState.com bookmarked for updates.