LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- California's black market for cannabis is at least three times the size of its regulated weed industry, according to an audit report made public Wednesday.
The audit, conducted by the United Cannabis Business Association, found approximately 2,835 unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services operating in California, according to local media reports.
By comparison, only 873 cannabis sellers in the state are licensed, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the lead agency in regulating commercial cannabis licenses for medical and adult-use cannabis in California.
Legitimate marijuana businesses have repeatedly criticized California state leaders and law enforcement for failing to curb unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services, which were able to sell cannabis at a much lower price by skirting state and municipal cannabis taxes.
Earlier this year, an industry-backed financial audit projected that roughly 8.7 billion U.S. dollars will be spent on unregulated cannabis products in California this year, compared with just 3.1 billion U.S. dollars spent on cannabis sold by legal businesses, according to media reports.