Hundreds of businesses expected to apply to sell recreational pot in Los Angeles

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For anyone wanting to get a license to sell recreational marijuana, you'll be waiting until at least mid-January, according to Los Angeles city officials. (KABC)

For anyone wanting to get a license to sell recreational marijuana, you'll be waiting until at least mid-January, according to Los Angeles city officials.

While the sales of recreational marijuana will become legal on Jan. 1, prospective weed entrepreneurs will have to wait to apply for licenses until Jan. 3. It will take about three weeks before a temporary license can be approved and consumers must be 21 or older to legally buy.

The department expects an avalanche of license applications.

"Los Angeles has been described as the largest cannabis market in the world," said Cat Parker, director of cannabis regulation.

A map issued by the city controller's office illustrates the commerce in 2016, with green dots indicating more than 500 spots that face criminal action by the city attorney's office.

Parker said the new regulations come with stricter penalties.

"Businesses are going to have to be responsible for their premises and make sure that there's no loitering or trash going on at their facilities or they're subject to administrative actions by the department, which include revocation of their license," Parker said.

Unlicensed operations can be hammered by fines up to $20,000 a day, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is authorized to shut off utilities.

Many medical dispensaries are lining up to obtain a recreational sales license and as many as 200 businesses may be approved in January.

On the streets Friday, many questions were raised about access to a license, such as will it be equal opportunity?

"Making sure that the licenses don't just go to people who are outside of the community," one person said.

There is also concern about unwanted exposure to marijuana smoke. But there is no pot smoking allowed in any public places. Still, there are other questions about the legalization.

What is certain is that the city expects revenue in the first year to potentially be a minimum of $20 million.

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businessmarijuanalegalrecreationdrugsmoneyLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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