On New Year’s Day, the line outside ECO, a cannabis retail outlet in Eureka, stretched around the corner. | Ryan Burns

For the past two days, customers have been lining up in downtown Eureka to buy marijuana. Legally. In full view of anyone who might happen by.

This is the new reality, and to many of those standing in line, buying pot over the counter is a delightful novelty. 

“It’s a new day!” one man declared gleefully this afternoon while standing outside ECO, the first dispensary in the county to obtain a state permit for recreational weed sales. On New Year’s Day, the line outside ECO quickly grew to extend around the corner onto Third Street. This afternoon the line was shorter but still extended past the door of neighboring business Because Coffee as people waited for their chance to buy buds, vape juice, edibles, topical patches and more.

And now Humboldt County has a second retail store open for recreational sales. The Humboldt County Collective, located in the Myrtletown Shopping Center just outside Eureka city limits, received its state permit over the weekend, according to Manager Savannah Snow (and confirmed by state records). 

But the state has yet to issue a permit for Arcata’s Humboldt Patient Resource Center, whose manager, Mariellen Jurkovich, has been expecting the go-ahead since late last week. The dispensary’s voicemail message today tells callers that the state has not completed the processing of temporary state permits, and until it does so HPRC will be unable to sell to recreational users. Management expects the permit to post any day.

The Humboldt County Collective is located at 1670 Myrtle Ave. Suite B.