San Diego dispensary receives state's first recreational marijuana license

Torrey Holistics to start general sales January 1

San Diego - Torrey Holistics in Sorrento Valley has been selling medical marijuana for years. Now, as the state's new law legalizing recreational use goes into effect, they're working overtime to get ready, and to navigate a slew of new rules and regulations.

"We're ecstatic," says Ruthie Edelson, the store's marketing manager. "We're excited to be the pioneers."

Torrey Holistics got the first "Adult Use" license in the state from California's Bureau of Cannabis Control. Thousands of businesses applied for the license, which allows the sale of marijuana to any adult over the age of 21 without the medical recommendation of a physician.

In San Diego, only 36 stores will be licensed, 4 in each district.

The city also imposed a handful of additional laws to the state statute, including a zoning restriction stating that stores selling marijuana must be: 

  • 1000 feet from any public parks, churches, childcare, playgrounds, libraries, minor oriented facilities, residential care facilities and schools
  • 100 feet from residential zones

San Diego voters also added a 5% tax to marijuana sales, which will grow to 8% by 2019. That's in addition to a 15% state sales tax and any local sales taxes that already exist.

That's something the stores are ready to handle.

"We've got an army of CPAs and lawyers and people helping us," says Edleson. "We want to make sure we follow all the city and state laws to a "T." We're being very diligent when it comes to that."

State laws also restrict how much can be sold, and to whom. Medical marijuana users can buy more than Adult Use buyers.

Edibles must now be less than 100 mg per package, and individual portions can't have more than 10 mg. Because of that, stores like Torrey Holistics have to swap out their inventory by the 1st.

City governments have also been working to adjust. They'll have to take over local permitting and enforcement.

San Diego Councilmember Chris Cate says the city has been planning for years to be ready, and he expects all of the rules to be a work in progress.

"This is going to be a billion dollar industry in California," says Cate. "The State Legislature will go back and look at ways to clen up regulations, see what's working and now and make changes. The city's going to have to do the same thing."

A full list of city regulations can be found here, as well as maps to all of the approved dispensaries in San Diego.

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