San Francisco Cannabis Stores Open For First Day Of Recreational Pot Sales

Posted: Jan 07, 2018



Legal recreational cannabis sales began in San Francisco on Saturday morning, drawing crowds to the first six retail stores in the city to sell weed to anyone over the age of 21 who wants it.

At the Apothecarium, a dispensary in the Castro that opened at 9 a.m., Dominic Rea, 48, was the first person in line. He had arrived at 4:20 a.m because he anticipated a line and because the symbolism was too good to pass up. He was the first person there by hours, but his excitement hadn’t waned.

“I was so excited, I just decided to come over,” Rea said. “I think I’m going to get a sativa joint, an indica joint and a couple of candy bars.”

Though sales began in other parts of California on Jan. 1, Rea had decided to wait for legal sales to start in San Francisco, skipping the opening of dispensaries in Oakland, Berkeley and other cities. “I live here, and I wanted to be here,” he said.

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded three memos from the Obama era that had outlined a policy of noninterference with state laws on marijuana, jeopardizing and confusing the status of legal weed. Still, San Franciscans were celebrating California’s new rules.

The sale of recreational marijuana is legal in California starting Jan. 1, 2018, but it may be a while before you see it being sold in your city. Why isn't it available everywhere? San Francisco Chronicle cannabis editor David Downs explains.

“We’re not thinking too much about what’s going on in Washington,” said Eliot Dobris, a spokesman for The Apothecarium. “We’re focusing on this incredible milestone.”

There was much pomp and circumstance at the dispensary; state Sen. Scott Wiener and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy gave speeches and partook in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Wiener also had some words for Sessions.

“He’s not going to know what hit him in terms of bipartisan support,” he told The Chronicle. Wiener is co-sponsoring a bill to make California a sanctuary state for the marijuana industry.

In his speech, Sheehy spoke about the long history of activism for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in the Castro. “We’ve had a movement that started really in San Francisco, took the state and then it moved across the nation,” he said. “We’ve gone the next step now.”

The co-founder of the dispensary, Ryan Hudson, recounted the down-to-the-wire circumstances of the opening day. While the dispensary had gotten its city license early Friday morning, the state license didn’t come through until three minutes before the state office closed at 5 p.m. Then, he said, staff started scrambling for the 9 a.m. opening.

A line of about 25 people snaked down the block by opening time. A steady stream of people came into the dispensary throughout the morning, which has the vibe of a boutique hotel, replete with a chandelier and soft music. They sell weed that comes in flavors like “Blue Frost” and “Harmony Rose.” They sell cannabis tinctures, oils and waxes—and even, for $29 or $39, dog treats made with cannabidiol (which, apparently, will relax them but not get them high).

Now that the sale of recreational marijuana is legal in California, you may want to try it for the first time or the first time in a long time. Here are some tips to help you navigate the overwhelming choices you'll find in a recreational marijuana shop.

Now that the sale of recreational marijuana is legal in California, you may want to try it for the first time or the first time in a long time. Here are some tips to help you navigate the overwhelming choices you'll find in a recreational marijuana shop.

Wesley Hattan, 42, said that he planned to get some edibles and go to the movies to see “The Shape of Water” later in the afternoon. “I’m finally going to buy some recreational marijuana,” Hattan said. “It’s a historic moment.”

Saturday, the dispensary offered a 20 percent discount to anyone who brought in their mother. “That’s our way of saying that this is a safe and respectable place where you can feel proud to bring your mom,” Hudson said.

Sophie Haigney is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: sophie.haigney@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SophieHaigney

By Sophie Haigney
January 6, 2018
Source and Images: SFGate.com



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