Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California could drive down prices and undercut the potential tax windfall that supporters have touted, according to a new study.
"Considerable uncertainty" surrounds the state ballot initiative. It would allow adults, 21 and over, to possess an ounce of marijuana and cities and counties to license and tax commercial pot sales, the study published Wednesday by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center said.
The authors predict that retail marijuana prices could drop from $375 an ounce under the state's current medical marijuana law to as low as $38 per ounce, in part because growers and sellers would be taking fewer legal risks.
According to the RAND analysis, consumers would pay more than that -- about $91 an ounce -- once taxes imposed by local governments are figured in.