The tax man cometh: California ponders legal pot, paying up

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – State tax collectors are taking initial steps to get a hand into California’s emerging marijuana economy, with billions of dollars at stake for the state treasury in the future.

Just how big a job that will be, no one knows.

The Board of Equalization on Tuesday approved a proposal to request funds to begin gradually adding staff, in anticipation of collecting taxes from the legal sale and cultivation of marijuana.

The action came three weeks after voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana, beginning in 2018.

Among the challenges: The state has no reliable way to predict how many new retailers will enter the market when marijuana becomes legal.

And it’s not known how many dealers and growers will try to remain in the black market.