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For years, the only way to obtain marijuana was to grow it illegally in the home or buy it on the black market. But today 205 million Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use.
Kristen Hwang / The Desert Sun

A budtender weighs cannabis for a patient in P.S.A. Organic in Palm Springs. (Photo: Lauren Hernandez / The Desert Sun)

Move, 4/20. California has a new holiday: January 1, 2018.

It's a date that dispensaries and marijuana users have had their sights on since Proposition 64 designated it as the official opening of the adult market in California. . [19659008] After a year of anticipation, the big change is a month away. Even state regulators are excited.

"I know this seems crazy, but we're looking forward to January 1," said Lori Ajax, who heads the state's Cannabis Control Office, the agency that will license dispensaries and some other cannabis businesses.

"This is what we have been waiting for, for what we have been training," he said. "It's the moment".

Whether you're a long-time expert or someone preparing to buy your first gram, here are some things you can expect in 2018.

Can I get into a dispensary on January 1? to buy pot?

The short answer is yes, as long as you are over 21 and the dispensary has a temporary state license. And whenever you can find a marijuana store near you.

The state of California says it is on track to grant temporary licenses to dispensaries that seek to sell recreational marijuana even before regulations begin to operate on the first day of the year.

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Ajax hopes that the Cannabis Office The online Control application system will open in December and the BCC will start sending emails to each other. retailers before the new year. The licenses will take effect on January 1.

Recreational clients will not be able to buy marijuana at midnight.

In contrast, customers seeking to obtain their first legal haul of adult use will have to wait another 6 hours, according to state rules that say retailers can only sell or deliver cannabis between 6 am and 10 am pm

Where can I buy marijuana?

Canna Care employee John Hough waters young marijuana plants at the medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento in August 2015. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / AP )

Depending on where you live, the nearest dispensary may not be nearby.

"There are only a handful of cities that are embracing it," said Jason Elsbader, a marijuana industry advocate in Desert Hot Springs, a city that has earned the nickname of "Desert Pot Springs" for its sincere acceptance of marijuana business. Elsbader is starting a friendly spa in the city.

Oakland and some of Desert Hot Springs residents in Coachella Valley are among relatively few cities that have formed recreational marijuana rules before January 1.

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Elsewhere, cities have postponed the question. The Sacramento area, for example, is considering opening an end-use advertisement for cannabis sales. As of November, San Jose was still considering whether to lift its ban on recreational marijuana.

Some parts of the state have bowed in opposition to marijuana.

The counties that have come out against the pot include Kern County, which rejected Proposition 64 with a decisive 53.7 percent of the vote and banned the sale of marijuana in October. Shasta County did the same, voting against commercial marijuana in unincorporated areas in November.

Where can I smoke?

Throughout the state, a good rule of thumb is that Californians can not smoke marijuana where they can not smoke. cigarette.

That means you can not smoke in indoor workplaces, including bars. As for the residences, the tenants should check with their owners to see if they can smoke at home.

Marijuana users can not smoke in cars either. Using the drug in a moving vehicle or having an open bag in the car are both illegal.

Prop. 64 opens the door for local governments to allow the consumption of marijuana by retailers and companies with a microenterprise license, which combines a small growing, distribution and retail site. In that case, the company has to restrict the facilities to people older than 21 years, can not allow the consumption of alcohol or tobacco on the site and must ensure that nobody can see people consuming marijuana from abroad.

Will all medical dispensaries become recreational? ?

An employee uses three fingers to space the marijuana display at the MedMen marijuana dispensary on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. Photo taken on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Photo: Richard Lui / The Desert Sun)

No.

On the one hand, not all dispensaries opened today will receive a temporary or annual authorization. license to sell recreational marijuana, partly because some dispensaries operate without the blessing of their local government. To obtain a temporary license, retailers must show the BCC that they have permission to operate from their city of origin.

"The main thing is that they must have local approval," said Ajax.

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Once dispensaries have adequate documentation, usually a permit of some kind, the BCC can return to the city to verify that it is valid.

Second, dispensaries that already sell medical marijuana can choose whether they want a medical license, a license for adult use or both, as long as the store labels their merchandise "A" for adults or "M" for medications and keep transaction records separately.

Can I try before buying?

Yes and no.

As a customer tasting ice cream flavors with a wood-flavor spoon, customers in a dispensary today may be used to smelling the marijuana flower before buying it. Then, Buddhists weigh the product and serve it at the counter.

Dispensaries will have to reconsider these practices once the adult market is fully incorporated.

Customers can still inspect the boat under the supervision of an employee, but dispensaries should discard any marijuana product that employees remove from their original packaging. Only products with tamper-proof and childproof wrapping can be sold.

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"You're not going to take the yolk out of a used pickle jar and let the patient smell it and get discouraged if you sneeze," said John Chaisson, the co-owner of Atomic Budz in Cathedral City.

Customers should not expect retailers to give free samples. With few exceptions, marijuana gifts are prohibited by law.

Are there quality controls for marijuana?

Yes State law requires new testing procedures.

For example, before a cannabis distributor can ship their stock, a laboratory must badyze samples for mold, pesticide residues and bacteria. Labs will also look for compounds such as CBD and THC, two of the cannabinoids found in marijuana. The products must be labeled to show the weight and content of THC and CBD.

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Chaisson predicts that additional rigor will filter growers and manufacturers whose products are not prepared for tobacco.

"Everything will have to be tested by a third party and many people will not be able to overcome that," said Chaisson.

What happens to marijuana products available before January 1?

With a temporary license, which lasts 120 days with the option of extensions, retailers will have some margin to sell the inventory they had in stock before 2018.

That means customers could still buy products that have not been tested or that otherwise appear to violate state law, such as gummy bears that risk "appealing to children."

I buy a boat regularly, will I notice any change in the marijuana stores?

In addition to different products, there will be some subtle changes in California dispensaries.

Some marijuana retailers may need to invest in security cameras and alarm systems to comply with state law, or they may begin requiring employees to wear a new identification card if they have not already done so.

But the result is this: for consumers, the transition should not be too jarring.

"Things really are not going to change that drastically on January 1 (for consumers)," Elsbader said. "There are going to be a lot of people submitting their applications to the state of California … but that's behind the scenes"

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