Bay Area Pot Merchants Ready For New Year’s Day ‘Green Rush’

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — At Buddy’s it was the night before the great ‘Green Rush’ and large overflowing bags of recreational pot were stashed away inside five large locked safes.

Matt Lucero, the owner of Buddy’s Cannabis, said his store has stocked up on pot to make sure its doesn’t run out of recreational marijuana during the first day of legal sales in California.

Buddy’s will open at 9 a.m. while stores in Berkeley and Oakland plan to begin sales at 6 a.m. Monday.

Lucero quit a job in corporate law to open a recreational marijuana store — the first one licensed in San Jose.

“It feels amazing,” Lucero said Sunday. “It’s the culmination of years and years of hard work. We didn’t push our way to first, we worked hard, hard long hours to get here.”

San Jose has some of the toughest local ordinances in the state, limiting operating hours, locations and a ceiling of 16 on the number of dispensary licenses that will be granted.

Lucero’s clerks will also be handling out written warnings about the dangers of smoking marijuana and driving.

“We are here for the long term,” he said. “We want acceptance from the community. And we think that if we lead the way, acting responsibly and transparently with the City of San Jose, and the police department, we will gain that acceptance and we will gain that credibility that we deserve.”

And because of all the new taxes going into effect Monday, expect the price to go up. However, some these dispensaries will absorb the cost, some will not, so expect to see prices go up anywhere from 5 to 15%.

While Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose signed off on various dispensaries to begin recreational sales starting Monday, other cities including San Francisco did not approve legislation for it in time for the start of the new year.

In San Francisco’s case, legislation was not signed until early December following lengthy debates over regulatory issues for the dispensaries.

Ultimately, the board opted for a 600-foot buffer zone around city schools and did not institute bans or caps for the number of dispensaries in each supervisorial district.

The city’s existing 45 medical marijuana dispensaries and delivery services will be able to begin recreational sales as early as Saturday.

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