SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – With the sale of legal commercial cannabis off to a strong start, many are wondering how the state will enforce new rules to combat the illegal market.
The state doesn’t have enforcement officers at pot shops. Officials are counting on dispensary owners to police themselves.
In Sacramento, “A Therapeutic Alternative” greeted customers with a red ribbon-cutting ceremony. They lined up early to score pot, not for medical reasons. Just for pleasure.
“I’m really excited to see what they have to offer because I’ve never been in a shop before,” said customer Andrew Zetterberg.
Beginning New Years Day, the dispensary became one of dozens across the state licensed to sell recreational marijuana, about a decade after it started selling marijuana medically. But at hundreds of other pot shops in Californian, sellers are still hoping to cut through red tape.
“All the rules have been out about a month and a half and so a lot of these licensees are still going to have to absorb all the rules they’re going to have to follow,” said Nate Bradley of the California Cannabis Industry Association.
Bradley says the rules for pot shop owners limits what you can buy in one transaction. For one, packages must be labeled with the customer’s name and can’t leave the store without opaque packaging to make sure people can’t see through it.
Even edibles are limited to 10 milligrams per person.
The question now is how will the state enforce the new rules?
“Right now, the focus is really on licensing,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Traverso says the agency doesn’t yet have an enforcement team to inspect pot shops. It plans to rely on shop owners to report concerns. “A lot of that is going to be complaint-driven right now,” he said.
Anyone can file a complaint on the state’s new cannabis website: bcc.ca.gov. A process the industry is satisfied with.
“Since they had to follow all the rules they’re going to want to make sure everyone else is following all the rules too,” said Bradley.
As for people lining up, many say they’re glad to see that California’s cash crop will finally be regulated. “I think the state will take all their necessary precautions to do this right,” said Zetterberg before going in to buy pot for the first time.