Legal Weed Hurts Prognosis for California Medical Pot Market

For many Californians, illegality hasn't been much of an impediment to getting marijuana.

Posted: Dec 28, 2017 7:05 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For many Californians, illegality hasn't been much of an impediment to getting marijuana.

In the two decades since the state approved medical marijuana, it was an open secret that if someone was 18, they wouldn't have to look very hard to find a doctor to write a prescription for a real or imagined health issue requiring marijuana.

Now, with weed becoming legal for recreational use, that charade will end for many, and the medical marijuana industry could take a big revenue hit.

A study published this year by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center says revenue from the sale of medical marijuana is expected to drop from an estimated $2 billion in 2016 to about $1.4 billion next year.

The study says the legal sale of recreational marijuana should bring in more than $5 billion as recreational pot captures about 62 percent of sales while the black market retains about 30 percent.

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