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SAN FRANCISCO – A new study says legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California could sharply drive down prices for the drug and possibly undercut the tax windfall that supporters have touted.

The study published Wednesday by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center says “considerable uncertainty” surrounds the state ballot initiative. It would allow adults, 21 and over, to possess an ounce of marijuana and cities and counties to license and tax commercial pot sales.

The authors predict that retail marijuana prices could drop from $375 an ounce under the state’s current medical marijuana law to as low as $38 per ounce.

According to the RAND analysis, consumers would pay more than that — about $91 an ounce — once taxes imposed by local governments are figured in. That is a 76% drop in price.

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