California Awards First Recreational Cannabis Licenses for Businesses

California Awards First Recreational Cannabis Licenses for Businesses

by Zach Harris | NEWS |

Legal sales won’t start until January 1st, but California regulators are already handing down permits for cultivation, distribution, and retail sales of the state’s biggest cash crop.

Photo via Torrey Holistics

California’s impending legal cannabis market made another huge step yesterday, as the first batch of recreational permits went out to a number of cultivators, producers, distributors and retailers who will, with proper local licensing secured, be able to open for business at 9 a.m. on January 1st.

According to Green State, California regulators awarded 20 recreational canna-business licenses on Thursday, including retail stores, extract and edible producers, distributors and “microbusinesses” — vertically integrated companies that grow, distribute and sell their own bud and cannabis products, from seed to customer.

The first company to get the good news was Pure CA, the parent brand of Moxie extracts, who will now be able to distribute weed products across the Golden State.

On the retail side, Santa Cruz-based KindPeoples, Lake Shasta’s 530 Cannabis, and San Diego’s Torrey Holistics will be able to kick off the new year selling legal weed to locals and tourists alike, provided they’re 21 years or older.

Of course, all of the businesses awarded state licenses will have to jump through additional local and state-level hoops — including making sure that they have enough licensed partners, including testing labs — before they can make their first recreational sales, but that hasn’t stopped California’s golden ticket winners from doing a little celebrating.

“Dude, I’m generally pretty reserved, but I’m freaking out right now,” Khalil Moutawakkil, founder and director of KindPeoples told Green State. “It’s amazing. I had chills up my spine.”

Those sentiments were felt across the state, even if there’s still work to be done.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Moxie CEO Jordan Lams told the Associated Press. “California has been without regulations for a very long time. So there is going to be a transition period.”

When it comes to the self-contained microbusinesses, Buddy’s Cannabis will join KindPeoples in providing on-site seed-to-sale service.

In addition to the first recreational use licenses, California regulators passed out the state’s first revised medical licenses, signaling yet another seismic shift for the industry that has operated under laissez faire state oversight since medical marijuana was first legalized in the state back in 1996.

“The taboo part is slowly going to be removed and this is going to be like any other business,” said Tony Hall, the owner and operator of Torrey Holistics, the first retailer given a recreational license, to the AP.

With only two weeks until California’s legal weed market officially goes online, Golden State officials have indicated that more permits are on their way.

“We plan to issue many more before Jan. 1,” said Lori Ajax, the state’s head cannabis official, in a statement.

As of press time California officials had not awarded any licenses for standalone commercial cultivation of recreational cannabis.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.


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