Five minutes after Love Shack opened its door at noon Monday, the doorman had already turned away more than 10 people wanting to buy marijuana for recreational use.
Outside Purple Star MD, for about every three customers who flashed their medical license, one recreational aspirant was turned away.
“Do you still need a card to get in here?” one young man asked, confused by the promise of 2018 being the year that recreational marijuana became legal in California.
“Yessir,” said Kenneth, the doorman, who has watched people trying to buy at the dispensary since November 2016, when 57 percent of the state’s voters approved Proposition 64, which allows the recreational use of marijuana for anyone 21 years or older.
Although shops in Oakland and Berkeley opened Monday to recreational users, those wanting to buy in San Francisco must wait until at least Jan. 6. The delay can be blamed on the Board of Supervisors, which failed to approve legislation regulating recreational marijuana until Dec. 5, pushing back sales to Jan. 6. Even now, the director of the Office of Cannabis has said that date is not for certain.
No matter; some still tried. A young man and woman visiting from New York poked their heads into Shambhala, only to be told they’d have to come back in a few days.
“I didn’t do my research,” said the young man, who asked not to be identified. “It’s not a big deal. I’m not bummed.”
But while the free sale of recreational marijuana has been delayed in San Francisco, new, stricter rules regulating dispensaries have already been rolled out.
At Harvest, where a wide storefront window once displayed the shop’s sleek interior, white shades now remain tightly drawn.
“New regulations,” the doorman explained to a regular customer.
To all visitors, the doorman, Robert, explained that their shopping experience would be slightly different upon entering. Now, a chaperone accompanies customers as they shop for products, and customers can no longer pick up or smell the products.
Robert didn’t approve of the new rules.
“It adds back the stigma to have to close the shades. Whenever you leave people to their own mind, they think of the craziest things,” he said to one man before he entered the store.
A trio of young women walked by Robert, laughing as they waved and asked, “when will we be allowed to come in?”
“January 6!” Robert shouted after them. “But don’t hold me to it!”