Pot smokers in California are counting down to the New Year’s “toke of midnight.” On Jan. 1, the nation’s most populous state will become the eighth (along with Washington, D.C.) to have legalized recreational marijuana.
As the holder of the very first state license to sell recreational marijuana, Torrey Holistics, a medical pot shop in San Diego, is scrambling to implement a host of new rules and regulations. That includes changing the packaging at the store so that it’s no longer see through.
Marketing director Ruthie Edelson is also preparing for product changes and new dosing requirements for marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. She showed CBS News some of the items that wouldn’t be allowed under the new rules, which limits the amount of THC in each to 10 milligrams.
Smoking marijuana is off-limits in restaurants, bars and public areas. Unless your landlord approves, renters may not even be able to smoke it in their apartments.
Don’t expect legal weed to spread quickly across California. Some local governments are banning pot shops entirely, while others are still working out the legal details. Los Angeles is the largest city in the country to approve sales of recreational pot. But the general public won’t be able to buy it at medical shops on Jan. 1, since the city won’t start accepting retail applications until next week.
“It is going to take a while to get these businesses up and running,” said Lori Ajax, who runs the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. “We’re asking people to be patient.”
California Highway Patrol officers are also bracing for legal pot by getting the word out that smoking pot and driving is illegal. Authorities expect to see an increase in marijuana related crashes, just like in other states where the drug is legal.
With more than 39 million people, California has the sixth largest economy in the world and legal marijuana is projected to be a $7 billion industry. That means cash-strapped state and local governments could collect $1 billion a year in tax revenue.