Recreational cannabis sales are official in San Francisco

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The first customer at Apothecarium lined up at 4:20 Saturday morning. He wanted to be the first buyer on what he called a historic day. 

“It is a historic day,” said Dom Rea of San Francisco. “This is the only time this first day is happening.”

San Francisco took longer to work out the logistical wrinkles of legal cannabis sales, lagging five days behind cities like Oakland and San Jose, both of which allowed pot sales to begin New Year’s Day.

But already there’s threats of pushback on the federal level. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice will step away from the Obama-era policies looking the other way if state’s allowed the legal sales of cannabis.

California’s politicians are vowing to continue the fight.

“He (Sessions) doesn’t know what is going to hit him in terms of the bipartisan backlash against his ridiculous announcement the other day,” said San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener. “I believe we will be able to preserve access to cannabis in California and other states, and we will effectively tell the federal government to but out.”

Before the doors opened, the Apothecarium was a hive of activity. And it was topped off with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Crews then began switching the business over from medical dispensary to recreational outlet.

“That is one of the big differences, we do expect to see more people,” said Eliot Dobris of Apothecarium. “But we are still committed to the medical needs of patients.”

Finally, the doors opened at 9:00 a.m. to a rush of customers. Rea, who lined up nearly five hours early, walked away as San Francisco’s first legal cannabis customer.

“It just feels like you’re a regular person, not under scrutiny or anything, like you go into a store and buy anything,” said Rea. “It’s awesome.”

Now that it’s legal, cannabis is subject to 15 percent excise tax and an 8.5 percent sales tax.