Business & Economy

Confusion is coming with legal marijuana — and it's not just a contact high

Legalization of recreational marijuana may be a factor influencing increased use college-age young adults.
Legalization of recreational marijuana may be a factor influencing increased use college-age young adults.
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California will kick off recreational marijuana sales in two months — on Jan. 1, 2018, to be precise.  As the new market takes shape, consumers and businesses alike can expect plenty of confusion.

Only a few places look ready to issue licenses. Some are banning sales altogether.

Although cannabis will technically be legal, options to buy it could be limited in many places. It may not be so easy to ring in the new year with a legal pot purchase.

David Burr removes leaves on marijuana plants to allow more light for growth at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. On July 1, 2017, Nevada joined seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use.
David Burr removes leaves on marijuana plants to allow more light for growth at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. On July 1, 2017, Nevada joined seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use.
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Los Angeles officials are still struggling to create local rules — just like our sister in Northern California, San Francisco.

Industry experts say there are gaps in the supply chain. Moving cannabis from the field to distribution centers, then to testing labs and eventually retail shops isn't as easy as it might seem.

A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Then there are the security issues.

On Saturday night, a group of men tried to rob a marijuana dispensary in South Los Angeles but were stopped when a security guard opened fire.

The group fled when he started shooting. The guard hit one of the robbers in the leg. He was hospitalized in stable condition.

The other men managed to get away. It's not clear how many there were.

Detectives have made no arrests and have not released suspect descriptions.

An activist smokes a joint during a protest in Bogota, Colombia under the motto
An activist smokes a joint during a protest in Bogota, Colombia under the motto "No vamos a pagar, lo vamos a pegar" ('We are not going to pay for it, we are going to get the kick out of it"). She and others were protesting against fines for smoking marijuana on August 1, 2017.
RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images

In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow up to six marijuana plants.