California Cannabis Sales Begin: Leafly’s Live Coverage

New Year’s Day marks the beginning of adult-use cannabis sales in California, a milestone that ushers in a new era of regulated legalization in America’s most populous state. Leafly has reporters fanned out across the state and will be updating this page throughout the day.

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Adult Use Cannabis Sales Begin in California

Harborside co-founders Steve DeAngelo and brother Andrew DeAngelo completed the first state-regulated cannabis sale to Henry G. Wykowski, a cannabis attorney who has long represented the iconic dispensary and helped it survive attacks from federal law enforcement, just after 6 a.m. in Oakland on Jan. 1. (Bruce Barcott/Leafly)

7:09 a.m. — Berkeley Patients Group Starts Up with Prerolls & Edible

It’s a moonlit morning at Berkeley Patients Group, where Mikki Norris and Chris Conrad, writers and activists who were staunch supporters of Prop. 64, became the first adult-use customers at California’s oldest continuously operating dispensary.

The pair bought three prerolls of Jack Herer. Sean Luce, BPG’s chief operating officer, wanted activists to be the first in line, and the activists wanted to honor Herer, the legalization activist and late author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

The line formed here at 4 a.m. The first to arrive were a couple from Merced, Anthony Moraga and Aimee Tatum. They bought two eighths of White OG.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Aguirre was present for the ribbon cutting, deploying many pot puns in the predawn cold while joined by state Sen. Nancy Skinner.

BPG survived a shutdown attempt from Obama’s Justice Department, when the local US attorney, who lived in Berkeley, filed a civil asset forfeiture proceeding against the dispensary’s landlord. —Chris Roberts

6 a.m. — Harborside in Oakland Records State’s First Legal Sale

Adult-use cannabis sales kicked off in Oakland as soon as the law allowed on New Year’s Day, with doors opening at 6 a.m. at the iconic Harborside dispensary. Co-founders Steve DeAngelo and brother Andrew DeAngelo completed the first legal sale—a gram of cannabis—to Henry G. Wykowski, a cannabis attorney who helped the company fight off yearslong enforcement actions by federal officials.

The cost for California’s first gram? $20.10. The strain? Neville Purple. —Bruce Barcott

12:01 a.m. — New Year Marks New Era for Golden State

Just after midnight, some Californians were raising blunts instead of champagne glasses.

Johnny Hernandez, a tattoo artist from Modesto, celebrated New Year’s Eve by smoking “Happy New Year blunts” with his cousins.

“This is something we’ve all been waiting for,” he said. “It is something that can help so many people and there’s no reason why we should not be sharing that.”

“People might actually realize weed isn’t bad. It helps a lot of people.”

Hernandez said he hoped the legalization of recreational marijuana would help alleviate the remaining stigma some still believe surrounds marijuana use.

“People might actually realize weed isn’t bad. It helps a lot of people,” he said.

For those who worked for this day, the shift also offered joyful relief.

“We’re thrilled,” said Khalil Moutawakkil, founder of KindPeoples, which grows and sells weed in Santa Cruz. “We can talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of the specific regulations, but at the end of the day it’s a giant step forward, and we’ll have to work out the kinks as we go.”

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