Diane L. Harkey

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

California's legal marijuana industry is expected to involve everything from backyard growers to sprawling fields in the farm belt, storefront sellers along rural roads to chain-store like outlets in Los Angeles.

State tax collectors are taking initial steps to get a hand into that vast, emerging economy, with billions of dollars at stake in the future for the state treasury. State analysts have estimated that state and local governments could eventually collect over $1 billion annually from the production and sale of legal pot.

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

The state has no reliable way to predict how many new retailers will enter the marketplace...