California marijuana taxes starting slowly; black market blamed

California didn’t bring in as much tax revenue as expected during the first three months of legal marijuana sales, with experts blaming the shortfall on the state’s still-thriving black market.

First quarter revenue from cannabis taxes totaled $34 million, according to figures released this week by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. That put California on track to take in nearly two-fifths of the $175 million in marijuana revenue that Gov. Jerry Brown projected in his most recent budget for the first six months of the year, and about one-eighth the $1 billion in yearly revenue promised by proponents of Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in California.

The slow start frustrated, but didn’t totally surprise, entrepreneurs working in the newly legalized industry.

“January, February and March were a bit of a sobering time for us,” said Derek Peterson, founder of Irvine-based Terra Tech, which owns Blum dispensary in Santa Ana along

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