San Diego’s First Legal MMJ Dispensary Opens

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Nearly 20 years after California voters first approved medical marijuana, and after long years of struggling with illegal MMJ dispensaries, the first fully legal and registered dispensary has opened its doors in San Diego.

A Green Alternative, owned by local David Blair, began serving customers on Wednesday. A grand opening event was planned for Friday.

The dispensary was given the green light in January after months of legal wrangling. Two more fully sanctioned dispensaries won approval to open later this spring, and a fourth was slated for a hearing with the city Planning Commission on Thursday.

An estimated 100 unlicensed dispensaries continue operating in the city, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, and efforts to crack down on illegal dispensaries are ongoing. At least 18 have been shuttered thus far this year.

Roughly 50 other cities in California have a licensing process in place for legitimate dispensaries, but many areas in the state have long struggled with unregulated dispensaries that operate on the fringe of the law.