The first dispensaries licensed to sell recreational marijuana in Los Angeles County have opened their doors in West Hollywood.
Pot enthusiasts lined up down the block Tuesday outside MedMen, one of only four stores in West Hollywood with a license to sell recreational marijuana.
“We’ve been preparing for this for months, if not years,” said Daniel Yi, vice president of MedMen.
West Hollywood is one of only a handful of cities now licensed by the state to sell recreational marijuana.
Even though California has allowed medical marijuana use for 20-some years, voting to pass it recreationally meant the industry would now be regulated by the state for the first time.
“On New Year’s Eve, a lot of our employees were not out celebrating New Year’s, they were here pulling out all of the products that weren’t compliant,” Yi said.
The market for recreational marijuana use in this state is expected to be big.
“Within the last 18 months, we have increased our labor force by tenfold,” Yi said. “We went from 40-some employees to 400-some employees.”
The legalization of marijuana is still evolving – and so is its image and stigma, which is something MedMen took into account when designing the look of its store for its customers and neighbors.
“This is a new era. If you want to treat cannabis like a product and not an illicit drug, this is what it looks like,” Yi explained.
Adults 21 and older can now purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use or 100 milligrams of edibles.
But finding a retail outlet to buy non-medical pot in California won’t be easy, at least initially. Only about 90 businesses in all of California received state licenses to open on New Year’s Day.