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Some LA pot shops can start selling recreational weed Saturday

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The wait is over

People in line at West Hollywood pot shop
Only a few shops in West Hollywood have been able to sell recreational marijuana since it became legal January 1.
David McNew, Getty Images

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published January 19, 2017, and has been updated with the most recent information.

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.

The first of those licenses came down Friday night. They went two a pair of shops under the MedMen brand—one in Beverly Grove and the other in Downtown LA.

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.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that cannabis businesses would be unable to operate in Warner Center, Playa Vista, and the areas around USC and LA Live. In fact, businesses will be allowed to operate in those areas under the terms of community-specific guidelines.