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"This is kind of a big deal for everybody." The nation's most populous state joins a growing list of other states, and the nation's capital, where so-called recreational marijuana is permitted even though the federal government continues to classify pot as a controlled substance, like heroin and LSD.
Customers began lining up before dawn Monday outside Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the nation.But the city's top pot regulator, Cat Packer, told reporters last month that medicinal sales can continue to consumers with a doctor's recommendation until new licenses are issued.The state banned "loco-weed" in 1913, according to a history by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the pot advocacy group known as NORML.Finding a retail outlet to buy non-medical pot in California won't be easy -- at least initially.Only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open New Year's Day.Twenty years later, voters approved legal recreational use and gave the state a year to write regulations for a legal market that would open in 2018.
Today, 29 states have adopted medical marijuana laws.
The first attempt to undo that by voter initiative in 1972 failed, but three years later felony possession of less than an ounce was downgraded to a misdemeanour.
In 1996, over the objections of law enforcement, President Clinton's drug czar and three former presidents, California voters approved marijuana for medicinal purposes.
22, 2017 photo, Dale Gieringer of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) poses for photos at his house in Berkeley, Calif..
Californians may awake on New Year's Day to a familiar scent in greater-than-normal concentrations. -- Customers lined up early to purchase recreational marijuana legally for the first time in California as the new year brought broad legalization some two decades after the state was the first to allow pot for medical use.
It wasn't immediately clear how many of those shops, if any, would be open New Year's Day.