Long lines on 1st day of legal recreational pot sales

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SAN DIEGO -- Booming business was reported Monday at one San Diego pot store, on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales for those ages 21 and up in California.

The store, Urban Leaf, had previously only handled medical marijuana prescribed by physicians. It is tucked away in an industrial park. near the 15/94 interchange, across a freeway from a Costco and two miles east of downtown.

Manager Peter Yousif said there was a long line out the door of the dispensary.

"We've been slammed since opening at 7 a.m.," said Yousif. We have a line out the door right now. We expected it.

Yousif said about 250 people had visited the dispensary during its first four hours of operation on New Years Day.

The marijuana dispensary operator said he felt there was a lot of pent-up demand for the now-legal drug.

"I think it will be like this for at least a few months," Yousif said. Before, some people were reluctant to try it because they were concerned about getting a medical marijuana card. But now that it is legal, people are more willing to try it.

Yousif cited a case in point.

"I had a lady who came in here today who hadn't done marijuana in 30 years," he said. She said, 'Now that it is recreational -- I want to try it out again.'

Urban Leaf in Golden Hill will be open until 9 p.m.

In 2016, Californians voted to legalize sales of recreational marijuana for anyone age 21 and older. It is now legal to purchase marijuana for recreational use at licensed shops as well as to grow, possess and use limited quantities of cannabis.

The state led the country in efforts to legalize marijuana. Through Proposition 215, passed in 1996, California became the first state to legalize the drug for medical use.

In November 2016, state voters passed an amendment legalizing recreational use of marijuana taking effect Jan. 1, 2018.

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