LOS ANGELES — There will be no legal pot party in Los Angeles on Jan. 1.
California kicks off recreational sales on New Year’s Day, becoming the largest state in the nation with legal marijuana. But Los Angeles officials announced Friday that dispensaries in the city won’t be part of the celebration.
The city won’t begin accepting applications to sell legal recreational cannabis until Jan. 3, and it could take weeks before those businesses are properly licensed with the city and state.
“Come Jan. 1 in the city of Los Angeles, there are no legal, adult-use sales,” Cat Packer, who heads the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation, told reporters at City Hall.
“We are starting a process. This is something that is not going to happen overnight,” Packer said.
Los Angeles is California’s largest cannabis market and the opening of legal sales was widely anticipated. In March, 80 percent of city voters endorsed a measure that set in motion creation of the new pot marketplace.
But the city struggled for months to get rules in place to license businesses for legal sales, only agreeing to guidelines earlier this month.
Legalization has resulted in a patchwork of regulations around California.
Santa Cruz, San Diego, Shasta Lake, San Jose and West Hollywood are among the cities where businesses have been authorized for recreational sales. But Kern County is among the places that have banned all commercial marijuana activity.
In general, California will treat pot like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of the drug and grow six plants at home.
In the meantime, medicinal sales to consumers with a doctor’s recommendation can continue, Packer said. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state for two decades.
The route to legalization began last year when state voters approved Proposition 64, which set the stage for recreational pot sales to adults.