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Cannabis Sales In California Begin

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Original Publication in Leafly.

Adult Use Cannabis Sales Begin in California


3:27 p.m. — Historic, but ‘Just a Normal Monday’ in Sacramento

The staff at River City Phoenix had seen far busier days than the dawn of California’s legal use era. Sure, the place was bustling, with a packed lobby and waiting room. But it was nothing like the turnout on April 20, when lines would wrap around the establishment as medical-only consumers looked to fill their orders on the high holy day for cannabis.

“It’s a pretty momentous day historically,” said budtender Jack Powell. “But this is just normal Monday for us.”

The measured turnout seemed to be a testament of how mature the California market already was. Old friends came out for the historical day, another reunion adding warmth to the holiday season. And quite a few people who streamed in were patients overdue for a visit to the doctor or pharmacy.

In fact, the first customer served on the dawn of adult use was a medical patient whose doctor’s recommendation had expired.

Another customer, Steven Burks, 41, a cook at fashionable eateries, used to have a doctor’s recommendation, but it expired when he went to work in Texas for three years. Even after moving back to California, he made his cannabis purchases from local dealers, not permitted dispensaries.

“On the first day of the New Year, I decided I would start off the year by going to a place like this and not to a person,” he said while browsing the offerings at River City Phoenix.

He came in looking for something, a heavy indica, to help deal with his back pain and stomach issues. Then again, on this first day of adult use, he said he would also look for a heady sativa, perhaps, that might pair well with designer pizza or Beef Romanoff. —Peter Hecht

SACRAMENTO — The last time Sacramento resident Robert Burgdorf, 72, tried cannabis was in the parking lot of a bridge tournament he played at in 1978 or ’79. He doesn’t remember for sure. He just knows “we were a lot younger then.”

His wife, Andrea Burgdoft, 69, figures her last experience was in 1975—when she took a hit on a joint in a friend’s car. More than four decades later, she was curious what all this fuss over cannabis was about.

On New Years Day, they showed up at River City Phoenix, in Sacramento, emerging like characters out of an old Bob Dylan song, My Back Pages, seeking reawakening (and maybe a celebration of youth):

Ah, but I was so much older then

I’m younger than that now

The retirees, Robert a former schoolteacher and Andrea a former printing industry broker, were out early on California’s first day of legal adult use. Robert was feeling nostalgic, even though he was hardly there for a recreational high.

Robert’s back seized up in pain several weeks ago, and he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He has trouble standing for long periods. Andrea says they just figured they would wait for Jan. 1 rather than going through the hassle of getting a medical cannabis recommendation, which Robert’s primary care doctor didn’t do.

They went into the dispensary and gazed at the products with fascination and a decided measure of confusion.

“You don’t necessarily need to be crazy cerebrally high to get some back relief,” budtender Jack Powell, 26, told older couple in a calm voice, sounding like a guiding parent.

He led them through low-intensity product offerings and they settled on one some 2 mg Cali Dreamer lozenges, some 5 mg Kiva chocolate blueberries – which Powell suggested they start with by cutting in half – and a tincture dropper from Carters Aromatherapy Designs. They paid $107 in total, the first cannabis purchase of their lives.

“I had just read about this and heard about this,” Andrea said. “I thought it could help.”

“It’s terrific,” Robert said. —Peter Hecht

Picture from Hightimes.