State officials just awarded the first cannabis license in California to Moxie for the company to run a state-sanctioned medical marijuana distribution business out of a warehouse in Lynwood.
“When I first started in this business, if you were to tell me this day would come I might not have believed you,” said Jordan Lams, CEO of Moxie, which is known for its concentrated cannabis products and seeds. “It’s absolutely incredible that now we are on the eve of giving this plant and this business the dignity and respect it deserves.”
The state awarded another 27 marijuana business licenses Thursday. That included two more permits for Moxie, plus licenses for other distributors, testing labs, microbusinesses, retailers and manufacturers.
Torrey Holistics in San Diego got California’s first license to sell recreational marijuana — to which Tony Hall, co-owner of the 2-year-old shop, said, “Hell yeah!”
Dispensaries in Santa Cruz and Shasta Lake also were among the first to receive retailer licenses.
However, the shops can’t begin selling recreational marijuana until Jan. 1. That’s when all of the licenses become active.
“Starting at 7 a.m. Jan. 1, the No. 1 (recreational cannabis) license issued in the great state of California will be open for business,” Hall said.
Though medical cannabis has been legal in California for 20 years, the licenses issued Thursday mark the start of a new state-regulated cannabis industry that will include recreational pot.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control started accepting online applications for temporary licenses for retailers, distributors, lab testers and microbusinesses on Dec. 8.
Agency spokesman Alex Traverso said nearly 2,000 people had registered on the site and more than 200 had filed applied for licenses Thursday afternoon.
The Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch also started accepting applications Dec. 8 from manufacturers — companies that want to use raw cannabis to make edibles and concentrates. They’d received 55 applications Thursday and issued eight licenses.
At least eight of those early licenses went to KindPeoples, which has two medical marijuana dispensaries now open in Santa Cruz. The company got licenses for both shops to sell medical and recreational marijuana, plus it got microbusiness and distribution licenses.
The bureau originally didn’t plan to notify businesses about whether their licenses had been approved until Jan. 1, which is the date recreational sales can start under Proposition 64 and when new regulations for the industry kick in.
But since Jan. 1 is a holiday, and to help businesses and cities prepare, Traverso said they decided this week to start notifying applicants in advance even though the licenses won’t be active until New Year’s Day.
The state says retail stores can be open starting at 6 a.m., though some cities — such as San Diego — have later operating hours in place. So it’s not yet clear where the first legal sales will take place Jan. 1.
Many eager business owners are still waiting for permits from their local governments, since that’s needed before they can apply for state licenses.
Retail chain Medmen went ahead and submitted applications for its stores in Santa Ana, Los Angeles and West Hollywood, according to spokesman Daniel Yi. And Yi said they’re gearing up for the start of sales by stocking up on product and scheduling extra staff on Jan. 1.
“It’s going to be mayhem on that day,” Yi said.
But Medmen’s state applications aren’t actually complete until they can submit permits from their local jurisdictions. Santa Ana, Los Angeles and West Hollywood all plan to allow recreational cannabis sales, but none of the cities have started handing out local permits yet.
“We’re on hold on all of them,” Yi said.
For businesses in cities that have permitting processes in place, Traverso said they plan to continue issuing temporary licenses on weekdays (aside from Christmas day) through Dec. 29. Then they’ll start again on Jan. 2.