A Conceptual Framework for State Efforts to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis

When drafting, evaluating and implementing cannabis reform policies, policymakers face a myriad of detailed choices, from specific agency authority to issues like tracking and testing. While these details are often overlooked by many... Read more
When drafting, evaluating and implementing cannabis reform policies, policymakers face a myriad of detailed choices, from specific agency authority to issues like tracking and testing. While these details are often overlooked by many advocates and media, they can actually mean the difference between policy implementation success or failure. Most states have stumbled and seen early hiccups in their regulated marijuana markets. Nevada, for instance, suffered a dearth of licensed distributors who could legally transport marijuana products from commercial cultivation facilities to dispensaries within the first few months of its program, resulting in sharp price increases and lack of availability. Both Colorado and Washington experienced delays, inefficiencies, cost overruns and revenues falling short of projections, resulting in a rollback of some of their more onerous initial mandates. Read less
Los Angeles, CA ( Global)
May 28, 2019
Submitted by: Matt Harrison
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Criminal Reform and Resentencing. Policymakers must consider tradeoffs when debating their approach to expungement. We recommend the maximum level of automation, with the highest degree of deference to the accused unless the cases involve serious and imminent risks to public safety (at the discretion of the applicable district attorney). 

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Matt Harrison

March 1, 2019

This framework informs this process so policymakers can avoid similar mistakes, and forge a successful and well-regulated market for legal, adult-use marijuana that can efficiently supply consumers and generate reliable tax revenue for state and local governments. Our analysis does not examine every conceivable facet of regulating a... Read more

March 1, 2019

This framework informs this process so policymakers can avoid similar mistakes, and forge a successful and well-regulated market for legal, adult-use marijuana that can efficiently supply consumers and generate reliable tax revenue for state and local governments. Our analysis does not examine every conceivable facet of regulating a legal marijuana market in detail. However, it provides a broad overview of possible approaches in each major aspect of a regulatory framework, and recommends to policymakers the preferred approach within each of five major components of marijuana regulation:

  1. Administration
  2. Fiscal Management
  3. Demand 
  4. Supply-Side Entry 
  5. Governance of Supply-Side Operations 

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Geoffrey Lawrence

March 1, 2019

Substance vs. Micro-Management. Regulators’ primary concern should be that licensees adhere to regulatory intent rather than follow a prescriptive formula written by those who have never operated a licensed marijuana business. In other words, licensees should be given the latitude to innovate, create new business... Read more

March 1, 2019

Substance vs. Micro-Management. Regulators’ primary concern should be that licensees adhere to regulatory intent rather than follow a prescriptive formula written by those who have never operated a licensed marijuana business. In other words, licensees should be given the latitude to innovate, create new business models and explore different methods of satisfying regulatory intent. 

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Geoffrey Lawrence

March 1, 2019

Generally, we recommend that states require testing procedures for marijuana products, but also allow licensees the latitude to adapt those procedures to fit within their unique production methods so long as they satisfy certain objective safety standards. This approach, as practiced in Delaware, facilitates the types of innovation... Read more

March 1, 2019

Generally, we recommend that states require testing procedures for marijuana products, but also allow licensees the latitude to adapt those procedures to fit within their unique production methods so long as they satisfy certain objective safety standards. This approach, as practiced in Delaware, facilitates the types of innovation necessary to drive the industry forward. In all cases, states should avoid saddling their own regulatory agencies with the burden of performing laboratory tests directly, as this can cause delays and generally falls outside the core competence of government. 

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A Conceptual Framework for State Efforts to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis

2019/03/01 - Reason Foundation