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Two years in, California’s legal marijuana industry is stuck. Should voters step in?

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.”

The 22-member advisory panel — made up of industry leaders, civil rights activists, local officials, law enforcement and health experts — noted that California is expected to generate $3.1 billion in licensed pot sales in 2019, making it the largest market for legal cannabis in the world. But nearly three times as much — $8.7 billion — is expected to be spent on unlicensed sales. [Read More @ The LA Times]

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