Legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California would raise an array of unknowns, from how it would be taxed to the threat of environmental damage from thirsty pot plants in a state gripped by drought.
That's what a panel reviewing the idea heard Tuesday in Los Angeles, as activists move to bring the issue to voters in 2016.
Panel chair Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — a Democrat who supports legalization — says it's time for the state to move in a new direction but raised concerns about the threat of a black market if taxes drive buyers underground.
Newsom's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy held its first public forum at UCLA Tuesday.
Newsom — a candidate for governor in 2018 — is aligning himself with an issue that polls show has gained growing acceptance among California voters. Medical marijuana is legal in the state.