Legal sale of recreational marijuana begins in San Diego on Jan. 1

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Ready or not, here it comes. Say so long to “medical marijuana” and hello to “recreational” pot.

The new year brings a new day when it comes to cannabis in California. At 7 a.m. Monday morning, nearly a dozen cannabis stores will open their doors in San Diego, and the only requirement is age.

Like alcohol, you must be 21 years old, a far cry from days past when pot was considered the “evil weed” and only for “stoners” and “slackers.”

This will operate like any other retail business. We’ll pay taxes, have display cases and experts to help navigate the different products,” said Will Senn of URBN Leaf.

URBN Leaf is one of the few cannabis companies that secured the coveted “license” to sell. They’re planning a big opening day with massage therapists, designer snacks and a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening.

California was the first to legalize “medical marijuana” with prop 215 in 1996. Twenty years later, we approved prop 64, legalizing “recreational” use.

Unlike other cities around California, San Diego appears to be a leader in establishing rules and regulations for pot shops.

Along with the pot itself, there are hundreds of products out there.

But, now that it’s legal, plan on paying a lot more. In some cases the taxes could be 40-percent of the price.

As for the taxes, that’s a dilemma in itself. Since pot is still illegal under Federal law, taxes and profits from pot cannot be deposited into a standard bank. Banks are regulated by the Feds, the F.D.I.C, and federally insured banks are not allowed to accept “illegal drug money,” even though it’s perfectly legal in the largest state in the nation, California.

Once they figure that out, the State could get $1 billion in taxes, San Diego could be getting $15 million.

So, Happy New Year, if you like that kind of thing.

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