It was six hours past midnight, but the crowd inside the Berkeley Patients Group counted down the seconds.
“Happy New Year,” they yelled at precisely 6 a.m. as a cashier rang up the cost of three joints, a $45.37 purchase representing one of the first recreational marijuana sales in the state.
The moment marked the launch of a new industry in California, one that’s heavily regulated and taxed, with revenue reaching several billion dollars per year.
The day has been long anticipated by cannabis advocates who pushed for voters to pass Proposition 64 in November 2016, largely decriminalizing marijuana and allowing for the commercial sale of products to adults 21 or older.
Earlier, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner joined a couple dozen people outside the Berkeley Patients Group waiting for the first sales.
“I’m stoked about this historic moment not just for Berkeley but for the state of California.” Arreguin said. “This is a long time coming.”
The first buyers were Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris, longtime marijuana advocates who purchased the three joints as the crowd cheered.
The couple had worked to on the marijuana effort for over two decades, pushed by their belief that its legalization is an issue that expands to social justice, civil rights and health care. (Click to Source)