California Rings In The New Year With Long Lines Of People Waiting To Legally Buy Marijuana

Recreational sales of marijuana began in California today, creating the world’s largest marijuana market overnight. As expected, since seeing Nevada’s rollout of recreational weed, long lines formed across the most populous state in the Union with many storefronts not opening until Tuesday, January 2.

According to the LA Times, annual sales are expected to hit $7 billion by 2020, with at least $1 billion in sales coming in 2018. The LA Times spoke to Will Senn, co-founder of the Urbn Leaf dispensary in Bay Park near San Diego, who was astonished by the turnout.

“This is crazy. We hoped for big crowds, and prepared. But we didn’t expect this. We’re at capacity inside, we have 75 people in line, and the line is getting longer. We would get as many as 1,000 people by the end of the day.”

Here’s the first recreational purchase in the state’s history:

Of course, jokes were had. Twitter was full of quips about fast food joints (phrasing) having long queues, and there was no shortage of one-liners about potheads and food that have been used for the last decade or so, but with those jokes came real marketing opportunities for said junk food suppliers. Jack in the Box created a special for $4.20 to mark the historic day:

With 29 states participating in some form of legal marijuana, it’s stunning to think that so many Americans can enjoy and use the plant. BBC’s James Cook pointed out that 1 in 5 US citizens of age can now buy a drug that remains federally classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, LSD, meth, and peyote. Still, the new law doesn’t mean people can be irresponsible with cannabis. Law enforcement has a set of rules in place for DUIs and passengers imbibing.

Multiple other states are looking at putting recreational marijuana on the ballot in 2018, such as Michigan, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and Minnesota. All of those states, except Michigan, have decriminalized possession up to certain quantities in the last few years.