Thousands line-up to take part in legal recreational sale of marijuana

CALIFORNIA (KFSN) -- Getting it all set up has been a rush job for Lori Ajax, head of California's newest state agency, the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

"But very exciting times with the state issuing the first cannabis licenses January 1st, 2018," Ajax said.

The agency is in the process of issuing temporary permits to allow sales to begin but the catch is, those permits will only be issued in cities and counties where they are allowed.

Richard Parrot said, "First and foremost thing they need will be a local authorization. Which would be a local permit license or some other type of authorization."

Richard Parrot heads the second state agency involved in cannabis enforcement, the Cannabis Cultivation, and Licensing division of the state department of agriculture. They will be handing out temporary licenses on January 1st, for growers to start growing, and there are a variety of licenses growers can apply for.

Parrott said, "Indoor, outdoor, mixed light we have various licensing types and categories that a cultivator can apply for. They will need to decide which type of license they want to obtain."

Temporary licenses for growing and sales will be issued for free, and be good for 120 days but after that annual licenses must be applied for. They cost money, and require permits from a variety of other state agencies, governing things like water quality and usage, pesticide control, impact on wildlife.

Another agency, the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch, a division of the state health department, regulates the sale and manufacture of edible cannabis products. They will also issue temporary permits, allowing shops to buy supplies from medicinal providers, and making sure they are in compliance with health and safety laws.

The edible products have limits on how much THC they can contain. However, whether it's swallowed, or smoked, buying cannabis products will be legal January 1st, but only in cities and counties that allow it.

For adults in the Fresno area who want to buy marijuana legally, it's a three-hour drive north or south.

Despite the fact all sales, medicinal or adult use, police acknowledge there are dozens of unlicensed sellers now doing business, not generating any tax revenue.
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