North County cities debate regulating marijuana - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

North County cities debate regulating marijuana

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8 / AP) - In about three months, recreational marijuana sales will kick off in California, yet no one knows exactly how the pot economy will work.

It could take until late November for the state to issue regulations that will govern the new marketplace.

On Thursday night, Encinitas and Oceanside held their final public meetings before developing rules on growing, testing and selling pot.

Meanwhile, growers and sellers are wondering how the industry can function when some operators will have licenses and others might not. There are also questions about banking and federal law enforcement, since pot remains illegal in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Last year, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot sales to adults in the nation's most populous state.

The law takes effect in 2018, when newly legalized recreational sales will be merged with the state's two-decade-old medical marijuana market.

To obtain a state license, operators must first have a local license or authorization. Los Angeles is still working on its rules and the city is facing criticism that some operators could be cut out of the market.

In addition, it appears San Francisco will not be ready for legal sales in January -- perhaps not for months.

The state will begin by issuing temporary licenses, good for four months. But those could be extended, if necessary.

By legalizing recreational pot, California is attempting to transform its vast marijuana black market into the nation's biggest legal pot economy, valued at $7 billion.

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