Posted by on January 1, 2018
Categories: Bay Area

Customers crowded into marijuana dispensaries that opened early in
the East Bay today, the first day recreational marijuana became legal in

Some dispensaries in Berkeley and Oakland opened as early as 6
a.m. after being licensed in California and their respective cities for
recreational sales following the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.

Underscoring the new legal status of the herb, a personage no less
impressive than the mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, attended the
ribbon-cutting ceremony at Berkeley Patients Group on San Pablo Avenue.

“It’s an exciting moment. We worked really hard in the fall to be
sure BPG was ready to open,” said Arreguin, who cut a green ribbon to
officially open the dispensary to recreational sales.

People were waiting outside the door before BPG opened at 6 a.m.,
and the same was true art Purple Heart Patient Center on Fourth Street.

“We opened at 6 a.m. We had people waiting in line,” said Kell
McKenzie, a team leader at Purple Heart.

Reached by telephone around 10 a.m., McKenzie said the store was
crowded and the mood upbeat.

“It’s great seeing the new customers and they seem really excited
about looking at the products,” McKenzie said.

Oakland’s Harborside dispensary opened at 6 a.m. The Harborside in
San Jose opened at 9 a.m. Emails and phone calls to the dispensary and its
chief executive were not returned.

While Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose signed off on various
dispensaries to begin recreational sales starting Monday, other cities
including San Francisco did not approve legislation for it in time for the
start of the new year.

In San Francisco’s case, legislation was not signed until early
December following lengthy debates over regulatory issues for the

Ultimately, the board opted for a 600-foot buffer zone around city
schools and did not institute bans or caps for the number of dispensaries in
each supervisorial district.

The city’s existing 45 medical marijuana dispensaries and delivery
services will be able to begin recreational sales as early as Saturday.