By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD / July 15, 2021 / https://www.latimes.com
Nearly five years after Californians voted to create a legal marijuana industry through Proposition 64, the illegal weed market is as big as or even bigger than it was before the ballot measure passed.
The end of prohibition at the state level was supposed to be the beginning of a highly regulated marijuana market served by legitimate, taxpaying companies (even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law). Legalization was billed as a way to tame the Wild West-style marijuana industry, which often flouted environmental and health strictures and was a bastion for organized crime.
It hasn’t worked out that way for a variety of reasons. Nowhere is the failure of Proposition 64 more apparent than in the deserts of Southern California, where a booming illegal marijuana industry has spread across the arid landscape.
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