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California’s 'pot czar' checks in 4 months into legal recreational cannabis




Marijuana is weighed on a scale at Virgil Grant's dispensary in Los Angeles, California on February 8, 2018.
Marijuana is weighed on a scale at Virgil Grant's dispensary in Los Angeles, California on February 8, 2018.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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Cannabis and California have been two seeds in a bud for decades, but it was just months ago that the Golden State passed Prop 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Legal recreational dispensaries began opening in some cities after the turn of the new year and have continued to pop up in recent months, and meanwhile state officials have been tackling challenges both foreseen, such as police enforcing DUI laws for stoned drivers, and the unforeseen, like whether to allow some marijuana growers and product manufacturers to move to tribal lands.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There have also been questions about financing the marijuana industry, since federally-chartered banks want nothing to do with cannabis money because pot is still illegal at the federal level, as well as issues with licensing that include some unlicensed shops being advertised online. Tax revenue was one of the main reasons behind the push to legalize cannabis, and the state says it is considering lowering taxes to help the burgeoning industry compete with the established black market. And there’s the issue of cities and municipalities making their own rules and regulations for marijuana activity within their jurisdiction.

Today on AirTalk, Larry Mantle checks in with Lori Ajax, who heads up California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, to talk about how legalization is going so far, some of the challenges her office is facing, and what she hopes to accomplish in the months to come.

Guest:

Lori Ajax, chief of the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control