Los Angeles

Legal Pot in California? Taxes, Black Market Pose Challenges

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California would raise an array of unknowns, from how it would be taxed to the threat of environmental damage from thirsty pot plants in a state gripped by drought.

That's what a panel reviewing the idea heard Tuesday in Los Angeles, as activists move to bring the issue to voters in 2016.

Panel chair Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — a Democrat who supports legalization — says it's time for the state to move in a new direction but raised concerns about the threat of a black market if taxes drive buyers underground.

Newsom's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy held its first public forum at UCLA Tuesday.

Newsom — a candidate for governor in 2018 — is aligning himself with an issue that polls show has gained growing acceptance among California voters. Medical marijuana is legal in the state.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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