California looks to build $7 billion legal pot economy

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A handful of California government workers face a difficult task: By Jan. 1, craft regulations that will govern the state's emerging legal pot market.

Californians last year approved a ballot measure that legalized the recreational use of marijuana, starting next year.

Now, state workers are trying to build the framework of rules under which the fragrant buds will be grown, processed, transported and sold.

The new industry has a projected value of $7 billion.

State and local governments could eventually collect $1 billion a year in taxes.

Getting it wrong could mean the robust cannabis black market stays that way -- outside the law.

Gov. Jerry Brown has recommended spending more than $50 million to establish programs to collect taxes and issue licenses, while hiring more workers to regulate the industry.

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