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State pot bureau ready to enforce California's new marijuana laws as license applications flood in

Workers at Torrey Holistics, a San Diego marijuana dispensary. None
Workers at Torrey Holistics, a San Diego marijuana dispensary.

The state has issued 104 licenses for retail stores to sell marijuana for recreational use in California and 239 other applications for those permits are pending, officials said Tuesday.

An official with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control added that the agency is prepared to begin taking enforcement action against pot shops that are not properly licensed.

“The bureau’s enforcement team is ready to respond to any complaints it receives and start doing compliance checks and site visits at any time,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the  bureau.

Selling marijuana without a license is a crime punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $500. Those convicted of engaging in any marijuana business activity without a license will also be subject to a civil penalty of up to three times the amount of the license fee for each violation.

A new report issued Tuesday indicated the bureau has issued 478 temporary licenses to firms to test, distribute and sell medical and recreational marijuana, which began Jan. 1 after voters approved a legalization initiative, Proposition 64, in 2016. Businesses have received 153 licenses to sell marijuana for medical use.

Another 1,458 firms have applied for licenses that are still being processed.

The state Department of Food and Agriculture has separately issued 207 licenses to marijuana growers.

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