The wait is over

Los Angeles residents looking to take advantage of California’s new laws allowing the sale of recreational marijuana may find it a little easier to do so, starting as soon as Saturday.

That’s when the first stores in the city of Los Angeles will be able to sell the drug for non-medicinal purposes, according to Alex Traverso, communications chief for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.

Though recreational sales officially became legal at the state level January 1, few Southern California cities had decided to allow such sales at the local level, forcing many eager buyers to travel to Santa Ana in order to make a purchase.

In December, Los Angeles established a regulatory framework for sales of the drug, meaning that recreational vendors would be allowed to operate within the city. However, officials didn’t begin accepting licenses from vendors until January 3.

The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation began awarding those permits last week, but vendors also need to have a separate license from the state before they can begin selling the drug for recreational purposes.

Traverso tells Curbed that the first of those licenses should come down Friday night—and that vendors can begin selling right away.

It’s not clear yet which vendors will receive their licenses first (the city had issued 55 permits as of Friday), but the bureau will record each license issued on its online portal.

Since January 1, most of LA’s medical marijuana dispensaries have remained in operation, but none within the city have been able to sell the drug for recreational use.

On January 2, four stores in West Hollywood received state licenses and began selling to recreational buyers.

Though Los Angeles residents (21 years of age and older) should soon have a far easier time purchasing marijuana, sales of the drug will still be somewhat constrained by local regulations, which forbid vendors from operating within 700 feet of schools, public parks, or drug treatment centers.

Sellers will also be outright banned from specific communities, including Warner Center, Playa Vista, and the areas around USC and LA Live.