The Latest: California's legal pot buyers embrace regulation
By Associated Press
Jan 1, 2018 12:32 PM CST
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Sally Sanchez calls for the next customer at Harborside marijuana dispensary, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. Starting New Year's Day, recreational marijuana can be sold legally in California. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)  (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on recreational marijuana sales in California (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

Customers who lined up early to purchase recreational marijuana legally for the first time in California say they're happy cannabis is now regulated.

Sixty-one-year-old Ellen St. Peter and her 23-year-old son, Bryce, were among the first customers Monday at the ShowGrow dispensary in Santa Ana.

Ellen St. Peter says in the past she took risks to buy pot and she's glad Bryce can now buy it safely.

To the north in Oakland, Jeff Deakin waited all night outside Harborside dispensary with his wife and dog. The 66-year-old says it's a big deal that they can buy cannabis while feeling safe and secure, without having to make the purchase in a back alley.

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9:45 a.m.

In California's capital city, about 25 people gathered for a red ribbon cutting outside of A Therapeutic Alternative, a store that's been selling marijuana medically since 2009.

Mike Shorrow was the store's first customer, purchasing more than 4 grams of marijuana, dubbed "Red Dragon" and "Ingrid." The 63-year-old says he started smoking marijuana decades ago for pleasure but now uses it for medical purposes too. He spent nearly $100, a price he called high but worth it to avoid buying on the black market.

Fifty-year-old Kathleen Santos waited in line so she could be on "the forefront" of California's legalization efforts. She's been purchasing marijuana with a medical card at the dispensary for several years. She doesn't agree with the high taxation, but says she's becoming more adventurous with the types of marijuana that she tries now that the industry is more heavily regulated.

The shop is only letting 19 people in at a time for security reasons, and requires everyone to sign paperwork to become a member.

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7:00 a.m.

Attorneys advising a group of Los Angeles dispensaries have concluded that those businesses can continue to legally sell medicinal marijuana as "collectives," until they obtain local and state licenses under California's new system of legal pot.

Los Angeles officials announced late last month that the city will not begin accepting license applications until Jan. 3 — and it might take weeks before any are issued. That led to widespread concern that long-established businesses would have to shut down during the interim.

Jerred Kiloh of the United Cannabis Business Association says his group hopes to continue to provide patient access to medicinal marijuana.

The status of the Los Angeles shops highlights broad confusion over the new state law, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

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6:45 a.m.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony as his city began selling marijuana legally on New Year's Day.

The mayor was joined by state Sen. Nancy Skinner as pot sales began early Monday at Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the nation.

Customers began lining up before dawn to be among the first to purchase legal marijuana in state.

A law allowing California's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m.

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5:45 a.m.

About 100 people are lined up in the parking lot of the Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California.

They're waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m. Monday so that they can be among the first customers to buy legal pot in the state.

The crowd sipped coffee and munched doughnuts, braving overnight temperatures in the mid-40s (around 6 degrees Celsius).

The dispensary says the first customers will receive special gifts. Harborside is one of about 90 California businesses that received state licenses to open on New Year's Day.

A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m.

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12:40 a.m.

Some Californians are raising blunts instead of glasses as they usher in the new year.

A law allowing the state's first legal retail pot sales went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Johnny Hernandez, a tattoo artist from Modesto, was celebrating New Year's Eve by smoking "Happy New Year blunts" with his cousins.

Hernandez, who is a medical marijuana user, says legalizing recreational pot is "something we've all been waiting for."

The 29-year-old says he also hoped that the legalization of recreational, adult-use marijuana will help alleviate a stigma some believe still surrounds marijuana use.

About 90 businesses received state licenses to open on New Year's Day. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.

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12 a.m.

The arrival of the new year in California brings with it broad legalization of marijuana.

The law comes two decades after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana.

So-called recreational pot is now legal for adults 21 and older. Individuals can grow up to six plants and possess as much as an ounce.

Finding a retail outlet to buy non-medical pot in California won't be easy, at least initially. Only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open on New Year's Day. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the many cities where recreational pot won't be available right away. Other places, including Fresno, Bakersfield and Kern County, outlawed recreational marijuana sales.

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