From Medical to Recreational Marijuana: Lessons for States in Transition


By Drug Enforcement and Policy Center Staff  |  Autumn 2020

Image showing a curved stack of green paper on a gray background with text overlay that reads From Medical to Recreational Marijuana: Lessons for States in Transition

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.


Image of the cover of the report showing a curved stack of green paper with a gray background and text overlay that reads November 2020, From Medical to Recreational Marijuana: Lessons for States in Transition

Actionable and concrete advice for states in transition

READ THE REPORT

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


A look inside