Recreational marijuana sales launch in Los Angeles

Los Angeles marijuana stores on Friday evening got the OK to begin selling cannabis to anyone 21 and older with just an ID.

The first state license for a cannabis business in L.A. went to MedMen Beverly Hills for the Robertson Boulevard shop to sell both recreational and medical cannabis, according to Bureau of Cannabis Control records.

The company also received licenses Friday night for its Venice and Downtown L.A. locations. They plan to start recreational sales at all three shops on Saturday morning, company spokesman Daniel Yi said.

“It’s finally here. The second largest city in the county has officially welcomed full legalization of marijuana for adult use,” Yi said.

“In many ways it’s a milestone, but in many other ways it’s just the beginning,” he said. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

Recreational marijuana sales were allowed to begin in California on Jan. 1 per voter-approved Proposition 64.

Dozens of shops throughout the state ushered in the New Year with long lines of people waiting to buy the state’s first legal cannabis. But in order to get a state license, businesses had to first have a local permit. And Los Angeles didn’t start accepting applications for temporary marijuana permits until Jan. 3.

The city issued its first permits on Jan. 12. They’d handed out 55 permits as of Friday afternoon, according to a city database.

Dominique Koudsi was the first customer at The Higher Path cannabis shop in Sherman Oaks to buy adult-use marijuana, just moments after the shop received notice they were granted state approval. (Photo courtesy of Jerred Kiloh, owner of The Higher Path)

“After years of trying to get this done … it’s just exciting to be here as Los Angeles makes its move to get licensed, to filter out who is legal and who’s not,” said Jerred Kiloh, owner of The Higher Path marijuana shop in Sherman Oaks, who said that just moments after he got state approval, he made his first recreational marijuana sale to customer Dominique Koudsi.

The early permits went to existing medical marijuana dispensaries that were given “limited immunity” to operate under the city’s former cannabis policy.

Many of these shops have been open for years, serving patients who have doctor’s recommendations for medical marijuana. Kiloh’s shop, for example, has been around since 2013 and has been operating as a medical marijuana dispensary.

Related: Weed 101: The basics of buying cannabis in California

But as soon as they receive a state license for recreational retail, they can begin operating much like liquor stores, selling products to anyone with an ID showing they’re at least 21.

Before the L.A. licenses started rolling in, the state had issued temporary licenses to 1,654 marijuana businesses.

The bureau had handed out 159 licenses for recreational cannabis shops, with the highest number in Sacramento and Santa Ana.

The agency had also licensed 209 medical marijuana shops and another 368 microbusinesses, distributors and lab testers.

The Department of Food and Agriculture had licensed 534 marijuana farmers, mostly in Northern California.

And the Department of Public Health had issued 384 manufacturing licenses to companies that make cannabis edibles and concentrates.

PREVIOUSLY: Los Angeles recreational marijuana sales could begin any day

Those numbers are expected to rise sharply as the massive L.A. market comes into play.

Considering the size of the city’s industry, Yi said there’s pressure to make sure they get it right, so they can serve as an example of responsible cannabis regulation for the rest of the country and even the world.

“It’s a huge weight we’re trying to lift here,” he said. “This is the just beginning.”

Dominique Koudsi, left, was the first customer at The Higher Path cannabis shop in Sherman Oaks to buy adult-use marijuana. She’s with shop owner Jerred Kiloh. (Photo courtesy of Jerred Kiloh)

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