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Illegal Marijuana Grows Continue to Threaten Legal Cannabis Industry

When Proposition 64 was passed in 2016 and legalized recreational marijuana use, many Californians celebrated. But five years later, cannabis business leaders are sounding the alarm on taxes hampering the industry, and experts say illegal marijuana grows ran by drug cartels are popping up across the state. “These trespass[ing] illegal cannabis growers, a majority of them being from cartel groups out of Mexico, are all over California,” Ret. Spec Ops Lt. John Nores Jr. told The Epoch Times. “The problem was how we regulated.” Proposition 64 allowed adults 21 and over to purchase and possess marijuana for recreational use. Previously, only medical marijuana was legal, but the illegal trade was flourishing. With the new law came new taxes: one levied on cultivation and the other on retail sales. Customers pay an 8.5 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, not medical, while retailers pay a 15 percent excise tax when purchasing …

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