With up to 80% of California’s Weed Business Still in the Black Market, State Panel Suggests Returning to Ballot Box

A general view of the MedMen Abbot Kinney store ribbon cutting ceremony on June 9, 2018, in Venice, California. (Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for MedMen Enterprises)

A general view of the MedMen Abbot Kinney store ribbon cutting ceremony on June 9, 2018, in Venice, California. (Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for MedMen Enterprises)

Two years after California began licensing pot shops, the industry remains so outmatched by the black market that a state panel recently joined some legalization supporters in calling for significant changes — perhaps turning again to voters to address the problems.

In its annual draft report, the Cannabis Advisory Committee warned Gov. Gavin Newsom and California legislators that high taxes, overly burdensome regulations and local control issues posed debilitating obstacles to the legal marijuana market.

With tax revenue about a third of what was expected and with only about 800 of an anticipated 6,000 licensees open for business, the panel said, officials may need to consider “revisiting the ballot initiative process.”

“Despite the state’s committed efforts to bring cannabis businesses fully into the regulated commercial market,” the report said, “as much as 80% of the cannabis market in California remains illicit.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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