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San Diego business is first in California to be issued license to sell marijuana for recreational use

Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California. (Los Angeles Times)
Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California. (Los Angeles Times)

A San Diego medical marijuana business is the first firm to be issued a license by the state of California to sell marijuana for recreational use, officials said Thursday.

Torrey Holistics received two of the first 20 licenses granted by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control this week to sell or distribute marijuana, although the licenses do not take effect until Jan. 1, according to bureau chief Lori Ajax.

An additional 180 firms have applied for licenses but they are being processed.

“Last week, we officially launched our online licensing system, and today we’re pleased to issue the first group of temporary licenses to cannabis businesses that fall under the Bureau’s jurisdiction,” Ajax said in a statement. “We plan to issue many more before January 1.”

The bureau is issuing temporary, four-month licenses to firms initially, but will eventually require firms to undergo background checks and pay a $1,000 application fee for yearlong permits.

Tony Hall left a chemical distribution business two years ago to start Torrey Holistics with a friend and classmate at San Diego State. He said he was ecstatic to have the first recreational permit in California. He also obtained a new license to continue selling marijuana for medical uses.

“We feel fricking great about it,” he said Thursday. “It’s just exciting. This is a once in a multi-generational event,” he added, likening it to the end of prohibition.

Added Ruthie Edelson, the firm’s marketing director, “We will be open at 7 a.m. on Jan. 1.”

Last year, voters approved Proposition 64, which makes California one of eight states that allow the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational uses.

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