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California Marijuana-Open for Business
A customer purchases marijuana at Harborside marijuana dispensary, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. Starting New Year's Day, recreational marijuana can be sold legally in California. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

Californians rang in the new year with newly legalized recreational marijuana


Some Californians rang in the new year by standing in line to purchase newly legalized recreational marijuana, which went into effect on January 1st. The nation's most populous state is the latest to join the District of Columbia as well as a handful of other states to allow the use of recreational pot.

"This is something we've all been waiting for," Johnny Hernandez, a tattoo artist from Modesto, said. "It is something that can help so many people and there's no reason why we should not be sharing that."

The path to legalizing marijuana has been a slow process. It's been nearly two decades since California legalized the use of weed for medical purposes.

Hernandez hopes that the newly enacted law will help erase some stigmas associated with smoking marijuana.

"People might actually realize weed isn't bad. It helps a lot of people."
Johnny Hernandez

Those 21 or older will now be able purchase marijuana, in addition to growing up to six plants and possessing as much as an ounce of the drug.

But some Californians weren't able to celebrate their newfound freedom. Only about 90 businesses concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs are received state licenses to open on New Year's Day.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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