Sign up to receive updates about events and research from DEPC.
From Medical to Recreational Marijuana: Lessons for States in Transition
By Drug Enforcement and Policy Center Staff | Autumn 2020
DEPC report offers lessons learned for states transitioning from medical to recreational marijuana
Our project, and the resulting report “From Medical to Recreational Marijuana: Lessons for States in Transition,” documents lessons learned and the decision-making behind policies that shaped the recreational landscape in four states: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Oregon. The purpose of this research is to provide actionable and concrete advice to states that are transitioning, or are planning for a transition, from a medical marijuana regime to an adult-use or recreational framework.
As of October 2020, and at the time of this report’s release, eleven states and the District of Columbia have undergone a transition from medical to adult-use marijuana regimes, navigating the creation of a new industry within a complex and incongruous legal framework.
In November 2020, Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota passed ballot initiatives legalizing marijuana for medical or adult-use consumption. In the wake of these election results, additional states and the federal government may choose to move forward on medical and recreational marijuana reforms through the traditional legislative process.
This report provides timely and detailed advice to policy makers and regulators about how best to operationalize voter-approved reforms as well as forthcoming legislation. The collective experience of these states has created a wealth of lessons for other states that might legalize adult-use marijuana in the future. By organizing and sharing this advice, we hope to inform discussions about reform possibilities and potential pitfalls.
Actionable and concrete advice for states in transition
Download a standard format, fully accessible version of the report on SSRN.
Three categories of insights:
1) decision points illustrate pros and cons of various regulatory and organizational approaches
2) lessons for success detail top-cited elements for success
3) challenges highlight difficulties encountered by select states