A day late, but unlikely to be a dollar short, recreational sales kicked off with a big bang in West Hollywood, California; one of only two municipalities near Los Angeles County to begin licensing for legal recreational cannabis sales, when sales became legal yesterday, on January 1.
The city of Santa Ana, located in adjacent Orange County, saw sales launch at two dispensaries on New Year’s Day. California’s largest cannabis dispensary chain, MedMen, said their Santa Ana location saw four times the amount of business than on a typical day.
“Yesterday, in Santa Ana, was by far a record-breaking day,” MedMen Communications Director Daniel Yi said from the sales floor at the WeHo store, where he’s been doing interviews since yesterday. “We saw four times the average traffic. I can tell you the average spend was a little over $90 per transaction, which is average is about $67. So, not only did we see a lot more people, people are also buying a lot of pot.”
By 1 pm on a mild, sunny Jan 2, the line-up for MedMen’s West Hollywood store stretched nearly a block east of the entrance, near the busy intersection of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights Blvd. Parking was hard to come by, with several news vans taking up the real estate in front of the store. Even with ample parking in back, cars circled, looking for an available spot.
“It’s been absolutely nuts today,” Yi continued. “I think part of it is that this is one of ten shops in the larger L.A. area licensed to sell adult use. So, as we stand here today, January 2, only Santa Ana and the city of West Hollywood have issued adult use licenses, and then the state has to issue licenses.
“We’re experiencing huge traffic, as you can see, and I think there’s also a bit of a celebratory mood. This is a huge milestone for California and for the nation. As we move the needle toward eventually end of federal prohibition. Colorado took the first step, but California is going to be advancing the conversation a hundred fold–so this is really a historic moment,” Yi described.
Those at the front of the line for entry said they’d been waiting an hour-and-a-half, but none appeared perturbed by the wait.
A constant round of newscasters entertained, shooting exterior commentary, though several line-standers discreetly declined to be interviewed on-camera.
Inside, a dozen or more red-shirted budtenders showed customers around to in-store displays of various products. One customer asked for a product that would help arthritis.
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