Adults who are at least 21 years old can legally purchase recreational marijuana from select retail shops in California beginning Monday, a milestone that instantly makes the state the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace.
Sales begin just after 6 a.m. local time at shops that obtained a temporary adult-use retail license from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state agency that oversees the industry. Many more retail outlets will open in the months to come.
The state’s new recreational marijuana industry has a projected value of as much as $7 billion ― enough to make it the world’s largest legal marijuana market ― and is predicted to eventually generate $1 billion annually in local and state tax revenue.
California produces vast amounts of marijuana, and has done so for years. Now, more than 20 years after the state legalized medical marijuana, 28 other states allow cannabis for medical purposes. Eight states, including California, and the District of Columbia, have also legalized the plant for adult recreational purposes.
“California is going to have a major impact on the public’s view of cannabis, not just in the U.S., but around the world,” Mason Tvert, a proponent of progressive drug laws and a partner at VS Strategies, a communications and government relations firm focused on marijuana policy, told HuffPost.
“California is our country’s number one tourism destination, with millions of people from around the country and hundreds of thousands from around the world visiting each year. A whole lot of people are going to witness this system. They will see that it works, and they will share their experiences with others back home.”