Awaiting Official Legalized Pot System, Wash., Colo., Businesses Test Law's Limits

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Dr. Mark Kleiman, BOTEC's project manager, said the crime and drug policy think tank will advise the administrative agency on the size of the potential legal market in the state as well as how many grower licenses it should issue.

One of the main concerns, said Carpenter, was adequately estimating the size of the marijuana market.

"If you overproduce marijuana, the natural thing for a surplus is to go into the black market. If you don't produce enough marijuana, you're fueling the black market," said Carpenter. "There's a sweet spot where you're going to get your production level."

But Kleiman said it was unclear how much growth the marijuana industry will see when competing with the already established registered medical marijuana system, like in Colorado.

"Given how easy it is to get a recommendation [in Colorado], it's not obvious how big the non-medical market is going to be," he said. "It's not clear to me how much growth there will be in the [recreational] industry in these two states."

"The notion that it will be a huge agricultural business is wrong," he said.

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